Impact of psychosocial factors on health outcomes in the elderly

Lee Willis, James Goodwin, Kyung Ok Lee, Laura Mosqueda, Phillip Garry, Paul Liu, Richard Linn, Sharon Wayne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


One hundred and thirty-five initially healthy men and women older than 65 years of age were studied prospectively to identify factors associated with health outcomes. At study onset, measures of personality, social interaction, and health locus of control were obtained while participants were still healthy. A reliable health outcome measure was developed, based on the annual objective coding of morbidity. Correlations between variables showed significant associations between age, a less independent personality trait, and poor health outcomes. Anxiety and low levels of social interaction were associated with poor health after 8 years. Gender and health locus of control were not significantly related to health outcomes. A path analysis showed significant direct paths between age and trait anxiety and 8-year health outcomes, and indirect paths between anxiety and extroversion and 8- year health, by way of social interaction. There was no evidence that social interaction mediated the effects of either anxiety or extroversion on health. The structure of psychosocial characteristics of the healthy elderly sample was revealed in the pattern of correlations between personality, social interaction, and locus of control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)396-414
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of aging and health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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