Psychosocial Factors in Healthy Ageing: a Health Psychology Perspective.

  • K. McKee
  • B. Schüz


Background: Healthy ageing is an international policy priority. This paper reviews research on psychosocial factors in healthy ageing, and considers how Health Psychology can best contribute. Method. A structured review of the scientific literature from 2000–2013, building on a previous review in 2010. The search term ‘healthy ageing/aging’ was combined with ‘older people’, also using conceptually overlapping terms. Following a review of identified abstracts, full articles on the central topic of the review were obtained and evaluated. Results. Three main factors contributing to healthy ageing were: physical exercise, social engagement, and diet; other important factors included perceived control and potentially important but neglected factors included sleep quality. Few studies considered the interactive effects of contributing factors, there were few intervention studies, and little model-testing. Conclusions. Contributing factors to healthy ageing contain a substantial behavioural component, indicating the relevance of a Health Psychology perspective. More model-testing and intervention studies are needed –to which Health Psychology is well-suited to respond.
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