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Life satisfaction trajectories of elderly women living in Switzerland: an age–period–cohort analysis

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Burton-Jeangros Claudine, Zimmermann-Sloutskis Dorith,
Project SWISS HOUSEHOLD PANEL - 2014 - 2016
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Ageing & Society
Volume (Issue) 36(1)
Page(s) 106 - 132
Title of proceedings Ageing & Society
DOI 10.1017/s0144686x14001044


Old age is a priori a vulnerable stage of the lifecourse. Quality of life can be expected to decline in older age due to loss, isolation, and declining cognitive and physical abilities. The purpose of this study was to investigate the distribution, prevalence and trajectory of life satisfaction (LS) as a measure of quality of life among Swiss elderly women. We also assessed the impact of different social determinants on LS within the age categories of the ‘young old’ and the ‘old old’ across different cohorts. Using the Swiss Household Panel survey data, analyses of LS distribution and trajectories were conducted for 1,402 women aged 65–84 years. About 50 per cent of elderly women in Switzerland were very satisfied with their lives. The mean LS score and the prevalence of satisfied women were lower in more recent cohorts of identical ages. However, their LS remained more stable over ageing than was the case in former cohorts. High education, satisfaction with income, social support, living with a partner and good self-perceived health were all positive and significant predictors of LS. Longitudinal analyses allowed the ageing process net of cohort and period effects to be disentangled and the assessment of the influence of both social determinants and within-individual psychological traits on the self-evaluation of LS.