Iranian Journal of Public Health 2017. 46(11):1512-1520.

Differences in Health-related Quality of Life and Mental Health by Living Arrangement among Korean Elderly in the KNHANES 2010–2012
Yeunhee KWAK, Haekyung CHUNG, Yoonjung KIM


Background: This cross-sectional study examined the association between types of living arrangements, quality of life, and mental health of the Korean elderly.

Methods: We used secondary data analysis from the data of 4248 elderly people aged 65 yr or older that completed the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2010–2012). Data concerning participants’ demographic characteristics, living arrangements, quality of life, and mental health were used. Data were analyzed using the SAS survey procedure.

Results: The living arrangements were as follows: living alone=18.3%, living with a spouse only =44.5%, living with family without a spouse =13.4%, and living with family including a spouse=23.8%. Mobility, self-care, usual activity, pain/discomfort, and anxiety/depression significantly differed by living arrangement. In the final model corrected for covariance, for the elderly living with their families without a spouse compared to the elderly living with a spouse only, the odds ratios were the following: stress =1.40 (95% CI: 1.03–1.91), depression=1.48 (95% CI: 1.07–2.04), and suicidal ideation=1.48 (95% CI: 1.10–2.00). The odds ratio of suicidal ideation of elderly living alone compared to the elderly living with a spouse only was 1.32 (95% CI: 1.01–1.72). Finally, the elderly living with family without a spouse or living alone had an increased risk of stress, depression, and suicidal ideation. In addition, they had decreased health-related quality of life.

Conclusion: Health-related quality of life and mental health differ by living arrangement in elderly adults. Therefore, interventions to improve quality of life and mental health for the elderly who are living without a spouse are necessary.



Quality of life;Mental health; Living arrangements; Elderly

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