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Associations of self-neglect with quality of life in older people in rural China: a cross-sectional study

  • YuanYuan Zhao (a1) (a2), CaiYun Hu (a1), Fang Feng (a1), Fengfeng Gong (a1), ShanShan Lu (a1), ZhenZhong Qian (a1) and YeHuan Sun (a1)...



Elder self-neglect (ESN) has become a public health issue globally. Limited studies have focused on ESN, as well as the relationship between ESN and quality of life (QoL) in developing countries. The study's objective is to explore the association between ESN and QoL among rural elderly in China.


A cross-sectional study was conducted among 3,182 elder adults aged 60 years or older, using a cluster-sampling technique in one township in Dangtu, a county in Anhui province. All participants completed face-to-face interview in their household. QoL was assessed using a brief form of the World Health Organization's quality of life questionnaire (WHOQOL-BREF), and ESN was assessed using the Scale of the Elderly Self-neglect (SESN). Hierarchical linear regression models were used to analyze the associations between the ESN scores and QoL scores after adjusting for sociodemographic, social support, and physical and psychological variables.


The scores of overall ESN and five domains were significantly correlated with the scores of four QoL domains (p < 0.001). After adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, social support, and physical and psychological health characteristics, elders who reported higher overall self-neglect scores had significantly lower scores in the four QoL domains (p < 0.001). Education, economic level, physical health, ADL, depression, and cognitive function are consistent predictors across all QoL domains.


ESN is an independent risk factor for poor QoL in elderly people in rural China. Understanding the role of ESN and its influence on QoL is important for the management of and intervention in ESN.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Ye-Huan Sun, M.S., Ph.D., Department of Epidemiology and Statistics, School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University, No. 81 Meishan road, Hefei, Anhui 230032, China. Phone and Fax: 86-551-65167725. Email:


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