Living as Married and Religiosity Reduce the Effect of Disabling Chronic Conditions on Quality of Life

  • E. Sexton
  • B. King-Kallimani
  • R. Layte
  • A. Hickey


This paper aims to examine the role of personal and contextual resources in buffering the effect of chronic disease and disability on quality of life (QoL) in older people. We used data from the Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing (TILDA), a population sample of adults aged 50+ (n=4454). QoL was measured with the two dimensions of the CASP-R12 – control/autonomy and self-realisation/pleasure. Regression was used to test the effect of newly diagnosed chronic conditions and increased disability on change in QoL over two years, with interaction terms to examine moderating effects of socioeconomic status, social support, personality and religiosity. Two effects were statistically significant. Living as married, regardless of marital quality, reduced the negative effect of disabling chronic disease on control/autonomy. Religiosity reduced the effect of a disabling diagnosis on self-realisation/pleasure. Both contextual and personal resources matter for maintaining QoL in poor health. Living as married may provide key instrumental support, allowing older people to maintain independence, while religiosity may make physical health less important for living a fulfilling and enjoyable life.
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