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23-02-2019 | Research Paper

Understanding the Multi-Dimensional Mental Well-Being in Late Life: Evidence from the Perspective of the Oldest Old Population

Journal:
Journal of Happiness Studies
Authors:
Elvira Lara, Natalia Martín-María, Anna K. Forsman, Johanna Cresswell-Smith, Valeria Donisi, Marian Ådnanes, Jannike Kaasbøll, Line Melby, Johanna Nordmyr, Linda Nyholm, Laura Rabbi, Francesco Amaddeo, Marta Miret
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Abstract

The promotion, maintenance, and improvement of well-being among the oldest old population is becoming a great public health concern. This study aimed to explore the experiences of individuals aged 80 plus regarding their mental well-being (MWB) and its contributing factors in four European countries. A qualitative approach was followed, with twenty-three focus groups. One hundred and seventeen respondents were recruited from senior community centers, adult day care centers, and nursing homes. Data was assessed using qualitative content analysis. Participants’ perspectives on MWB were collated along four dimensions: functional, social, personal and environmental. Staying healthy and maintaining independence, having close relationships with others, and insightful experiences with friends positively contributed to MWB. Additionally, engagement in fruitful or inspiring activities contributed to enhance personal development, which, in turn, had beneficial effects on MWB. Having a positive outlook was also found to be associated with MWB. Results reinforce the dynamic and multidimensional nature state of MWB, as well as highlighting the significance of psychosocial factors. Developing and implementing policy actions including a focus on the social and physical environment as well as strengthening personal capabilities and self-esteem, can foster MWB among the oldest old population.

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