Quality of Life Research

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 421–428 | Cite as

Temporal changes in importance of quality of life domains: a longitudinal study in community-dwelling Swiss older people

  • Nazanin AbolhassaniEmail author
  • Brigitte Santos-Eggimann
  • Christophe Bula
  • Rene Goy
  • Idris Guessous
  • Yves Henchoz



Population aging is a global phenomenon requiring interventions to improve quality of life (QoL), a subjective and dynamic concept. Such interventions should be based on QoL domains considered as important from older people’s viewpoint. It is unclear whether and how much these domains may vary over time as people age. This study aims to assess the importance of QoL domains, their pattern and determinants of change among the non-institutionalized older population over a 5-year period.


This longitudinal study included community-dwelling older adults (N = 1947, aged 68–77 years at baseline) from the Lausanne cohort 65+. In 2011 and 2016, participants rated the importance of 28 QoL items in seven domains. The difference between scores (0–100) of importance attributed to each QoL domain between two assessments was calculated and used as a dependent variable to assess the associations with covariates in multivariable analysis for each domain.


Importance scores slightly but significantly decreased in five of the seven QoL domains. Despite the majority of participants did not modify their ranking of importance for each QoL domain between the two time points, the proportion of change was still substantial. Bivariate and multivariable analyses showed that education and to a lesser extent age, living arrangement and morbidity, were associated with decrease in the importance of specific QoL domains; characteristics indicating vulnerability (e.g., low education or morbidity) were associated with a decline in the importance.


Although aging individuals modified the importance they give to the seven QoL domains, at population level, changes in opposite directions overall resulted in only small decline; importance seems less stable over time among individuals with vulnerable sociodemographic and health profiles.


Quality of life Importance Older people Longitudinal study 



This work was supported by a prize awarded by the Leenaards Foundation. The Lc65+ study has been supported by University of Lausanne Hospital Centre; University of Lausanne Department of Ambulatory Care and Community Medicine; Canton de Vaud Department of Public Health; City of Lausanne; Loterie Romande (research Grant 2006–2008); Lausanne University Faculty of Biology and Medicine (multidisciplinary research Grant 2006); Swiss National Foundation for Scientific Research (Grant 3247B0-120795/1); and Fondation Médecine Sociale et Préventive, Lausanne. The sponsors had no role in the design, execution, analysis and interpretation of data, or writing of the study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

Ethical approval

All procedures were in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The protocol of the study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Biology and Medicine of the University of Lausanne (Protocol No. 19/04).

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants in Lc65+.


The data were collected and coded before being handled for analysis and the investigators were blinded to the identities of the participants.

Supplementary material

11136_2018_1983_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (258 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 257 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Social and Preventive MedicineLausanne University HospitalLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Service of Geriatric Medicine and Geriatric RehabilitationLausanne University HospitalLausanneSwitzerland
  3. 3.Pro Senectute VaudLausanneSwitzerland
  4. 4.Unit of Population Epidemiology, Department of Community Medicine and Primary Care and Emergency MedicineUniversity Hospital of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  5. 5.Unité des services de santéInstitut universitaire de médecine sociale et préventiveLausanneSwitzerland

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