Quality of life in older people with mental health difficulties
Picken, Alicia Lillianne
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Introduction: The proportion of individuals aged 65 and over is increasing and mental health services need to recognise the resources of these individuals and meet their needs. Quality of life is a widely used outcome variable in mental health policy and clinical research. Subjective factors are consistently found to be more significant than objective factors in determining quality of life. This gives clinicians areas to consider when working to improve an individual’s quality of life. The current research looks at the relationship between successful psychosocial development and quality of life in older people with mental health difficulties. A secondary aim is to consider the impact of chronic mental health difficulties on quality of life. Method: Twenty-four older people (mean age 72) who were living in the community and supported by Community Mental Health Teams opted in to the study. Questionnaires, which included the WHOQOL-Old and MEPSI, were administered by the researcher. Results: Strong and significant correlations were found between quality of life and successful psychosocial development. A regression analysis found that successful resolution of the final stage of psychosocial development was the most significant predictor of quality of life over other psychological and demographic variables. No impact of chronicity was found. Discussion: The results of the study suggest that psychosocial development is an important factor to consider when working with older people and that a sense of ego-integrity is important to an individual’s perception of quality of life.