Subjective life satisfaction and mental disorders among older adults in UAE in general population

Rafia Ghubach, Omar El-Rufaie, Taoufik Zoubeidi, Sufyan Sabri, Saeed Yousif, Hamdy F. Moselhy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Life satisfaction is widely considered to be a central aspect of human welfare. Many have identified happiness with it, and some maintain that well-being consists largely or wholly in being satisfied with one's life. Empirical research on well-being relies heavily on life satisfaction studies. Aims: The aim of this study was to examine the relationships of psychiatric disorders and physical disorders on life satisfaction among Arab older adults in general population. Methods: Face-to-face interviews with Geriatric Mental State Interview (GMS-A3) were conducted with a nationwide sample of 2000 household in 2001. Total samples of 610 elders (above 60 years) were interviewed. Results: There were 347 males (56.9%) and 263 females (43.1%). The mean age was 68.6 years (SD=8.3). The commonest diagnoses were depression (20.2%), anxiety (5.6%), hypochondriasis (4.4%), and organic brain syndrome with or without dementia (3.6%). The findings suggest that having depressive disorder was significantly associated with less life satisfaction in the whole sample of older adults' people. In addition, anxiety, hypochondriacal disorders, and organic brain syndrome were significantly associated with low life satisfaction. Meanwhile, other psychiatric disorders e.g., phobia, Obsessive Compulsive disorder (OCD), schizophrenia were not significantly associated with life satisfaction. No significant relationship was found with any physical disorders alone. The data further reveal that low level of life satisfaction was especially significant in the age group above 85 years and people who live alone or only with wife/husband. Conclusions: The strong influence of psychiatric disorders e.g., depression, anxiety, organic brain syndrome, and hypochondriasis rather than physical disorders suggests that a lack of meaning and worries are more detrimental to life satisfaction than physical frailty. The findings underscore the need to develop interventions that help older people deal more effectively with psychiatric disorders and its comorbidities. Moreover, the results suggest that providing family support, by not allowing older adults to live alone, may be especially helpful for older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-465
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


  • Life satisfaction
  • Mental disorders
  • Older adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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