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Health sciences: More life skills could improve quality of life for older people

Scientific Reports

July 6, 2018

Americans over the age of 50 with more life skills may have better emotional wellbeing and health, stronger social relationships and greater income than people with fewer life skills, according to a study published in Scientific Reports.

Andrew Steptoe and colleagues looked at the relationship of five life skills - conscientiousness, emotional stability, persistence, optimism and sense of control - with measures of economic, psychological, social and health status, including the ability to form strong social relationships, financial prospects, chronic illness and loneliness. A higher number of life skills was associated with better outcomes in all areas, with the number of skills being more important than the type of skill.

The results highlight the importance of maintaining a combination of life skills later in life, both for the benefit of society and individuals. The authors suggest that approaches to improve life skills in older people should focus on more than one skill.

The authors assessed 8,843 participants from the United States aged between 50 and 102 years on each of the five life skills. Measures for life outcomes included income, sources of long term stress, amount of social contact, self-rated health status, diagnosed chronic diseases and BMI. Data was also collected on age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and educational attainment.

doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-27909-w

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