Frailty, financial resources and subjective well-being in later life

Ruth E Hubbard, Victoria A Goodwin, David J Llewellyn, Krystal Warmoth, Iain A Lang

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35 Citations (Scopus)


Though frailty status has recently been linked to poorer quality of life, the impact of income on this relationship has not previously been investigated. Data from a population-based panel study, the English Longitudinal Study of Aging, on 3225 participants aged 65-79 years were analyzed cross-sectionally. A Frailty Index (FI) was determined for each participant as a proportion of accumulated deficits and participants were categorized into four groups on the basis of their FI score: very fit (0.00-0.10), well (0.11-0.14), vulnerable (0.15-0.24), and frail (≥0.25). Subjective well-being was assessed using the CASP-19 instrument, and levels of financial resources quantified using a range of questions about assets and income from a range of sources. Linear regression models were used to assess the relationship between frailty and well-being. There was a significant negative correlation between frailty and well-being; the correlation coefficient between FI and CASP-19 scores was -0.58. The relationship was robust to adjustment for sex, age, and relevant health behaviors (smoking and physical activity) and persisted when participants with depressive symptoms were excluded from analysis. Those with greater financial resources reported better subjective well-being with evidence of a "dose-response" effect. The poorest participants in each frailty category had similar well-being to the most well-off with worse frailty status. Hence, while the association between frailty and poorer subjective well-being is not significantly impacted by higher levels of wealth and income, financial resources may provide a partial buffer against the detrimental psychological effects of frailty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-9
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly/psychology
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Linear Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Quality of Life
  • Smoking
  • Socioeconomic Factors


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