Psychological health of retirees in rural Scotland
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Background: In order to aid effective assessment and detection of psychological health, a clear understanding of the risk factors for disturbance is required. This study was undertaken to test the hypothesis that demographic factors, health factors, social factors, attitudes to ageing, number of life events in the last year and relocation status would each significantly account for, and contribute to, the variance in psychological health. Method: The study employed a cross-sectional design in which 1,080 individuals over the age of 55 were randomly drawn from the community health index (CHI) of a rural health board in Scotland and invited to participate in the study. One hundred and ninety-six respondents completed questionnaires assessing psychological health and a range of potential predictors. Results: Overall, negative attitudes to ageing were the most prominent predictors of poor psychological health. Psychosocial loss was the only variable found to be a predictor of all seven outcome variables, including anxiety and depression, physical, psychological, social, and environmental quality of life, and general psychological and social functioning. Other predictors included a higher number of life events, poor social support from friends, poor self-rated health and not having a spouse/partner. Conclusions: Attitudes to ageing appear to play a significant role in the psychological health of older adults. Promoting positive perceptions of ageing in society may potentially pay dividends in the prevention of emotional distress in later life. Psychological interventions, such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), may be key to addressing negative attitudes to ageing at an individual level.