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Title: Psychological wellbeing, physical impairments and rural aging in a developing country setting
Authors: Melanie A. Abas
Sureeporn Punpuing
Tawanchai Jirapramupitak
Kanchana Tangchonlatip
Morven Leese
King's College London
Mahidol University
Faculty of Medicine, Thammasat University
Keywords: Medicine
Issue Date: 16-Jul-2009
Citation: Health and Quality of Life Outcomes. Vol.7, (2009)
Abstract: Background: There has been very little research on wellbeing, physical impairments and disability in older people in developing countries. Methods: A community survey of 1147 older parents, one per household, aged sixty and over in rural Thailand. We used the Burvill scale of physical impairment, the Thai Psychological Wellbeing Scale and the brief WHO Disability Assessment Schedule. We rated received and perceived social support separately from children and from others and rated support to children. We used weighted analyses to take account of the sampling design. Results: Impairments due to arthritis, pain, paralysis, vision, stomach problems or breathing were all associated with lower wellbeing. After adjusting for disability, only impairment due to paralysis was independently associated with lowered wellbeing. The effect of having two or more impairments compared to none was associated with lowered wellbeing after adjusting for demographic factors and social support (adjusted difference -2.37 on the well-being scale with SD = 7.9, p < 0.001) but after adjusting for disability the coefficient fell and was non-significant. The parsimonious model for wellbeing included age, wealth, social support, disability and impairment due to paralysis (the effect of paralysis was -2.97, p = 0.001). In this Thai setting, received support from children and from others and perceived good support from and to children were all independently associated with greater wellbeing whereas actual support to children was associated with lower wellbeing. Low received support from children interacted with paralysis in being especially associated with low wellbeing. Conclusion: In this Thai setting, as found in western settings, most of the association between physical impairments and lower wellbeing is explained by disability. Disability is potentially mediating the association between impairment and low wellbeing. Received support may buffer the impact of some impairments on wellbeing in this setting. Giving actual support to children is associated with less wellbeing unless the support being given to children is perceived as good, perhaps reflecting parental obligation to support adult children in need. Improving community disability services for older people and optimizing received social support will be vital in rural areas in developing countries. © 2009 Abas et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
ISSN: 14777525
Appears in Collections:Scopus 2006-2010

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