Intergenerational Contacts Influence Health Related Quality of Life (HRQL) and Subjective Well Being among Austrian Elderly

Sylvia Kirchengast, Beatrix Haslinger


Over the last century population ageing is a well described phenomenon all over the world.  The dramatic absolute and relative increase in the population component of the elderly and the very old has influenced not only population structure but also the relationships within families, in particular between older parents and their adult children. The aim of the present study was to examine the impact of intergenerational contact frequency on health related quality of life among 62 men and 98 women ranging in age between 60 and 94 years. All participants of the study were healthy and lived independently in their private homes. Data concerning subjective well being and health related quality of life were collected by personal interviews based on structured questionnaires.  Health related quality of life was tested by means of the WHOQOL-BREF. The main finding of this study is that the frequency of intergenerational contacts has a significant impact on health related quality of life. Contact frequency with grandchildren per month correlated significantly (p<0.01) with all five domains of the WHOQOL-BREF. Contact frequency with sons and daughters per month correlated significantly (p<0.05) with the social and the global domain. According to Kruskall-Wallis tests and regression analyses with increasing intergenerational contacts health related quality of life increased significantly (p<0.01). According to these results a close and frequent contact to offspring is an important source for quality of life during old age.


old age, health related quality of life, intergenerational contacts

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