Quality of Life and Psychological Distress among Older Adults: The Role of Living Arrangements

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55 Scopus citations


This study asks (a) What are the relationships between types of living arrangements and psychological well-being for older adults? and (b) How do these relationships differ by gender? Data come from the 2010 wave of the National Health Interview Survey and include non-institutionalized adults aged 65 and older (N = 4,862). Dependent variables include self-rated quality of life and psychological distress. The study finds that older adults living alone or with others fare worse than those living with a spouse only. Yet, the outcomes of different types of living arrangements for older adults vary by gender. Women living with others are at greater risk of worse quality of life and serious psychological distress than men. Programs and policies must be responsive to the diverse needs of this population, rather than attempting a "one-size-fits-all" approach to housing and community-based services designed to promote older adults' psychological well-being and independence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-61
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This manuscript was supported by the Integrated Health Interview Series project at the Minnesota Population Center (National Institute of Health [NIH] Grants R01HD046697 and R24HD041023), funded through grants from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Publisher Copyright:
© Southern Gerontological Society.


  • gender
  • living arrangements
  • mental health
  • psychological distress
  • quality of life


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