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General life satisfaction predicts dementia in community living older adults: a prospective cohort study

  • Lorraine Peitsch (a1), Suzanne L. Tyas (a2), Verena H. Menec (a3) (a4) and Philip D. St. John (a1) (a4)



Low life satisfaction predicts adverse outcomes, and may predict dementia. The objectives were: (1) to determine if life satisfaction predicts dementia over a five year period in those with normal cognition at baseline; and (2) to determine if different aspects of life satisfaction differentially predict dementia.


Secondary analysis of an existing population-based cohort study with initial assessment in 1991 and follow-up five years later. Initially, 1,751 adults age 65+ living in the community were sampled from a representative sampling frame. Of these, 1,024 were alive and had complete data at time 2, of whom 96 were diagnosed with dementia. Life satisfaction was measured using the Terrible-Delightful scale, which measures overall life satisfaction on a 7-point scale, as well as various aspects of life satisfaction (e.g. friendships, finances, etc.) Dementia was diagnosed by clinical examination using DSM-IIIR criteria. Logistic regression models were constructed for the outcome of dementia at time 2, and adjusted for age, gender, education, and comorbidities.


Overall life satisfaction predicted dementia five years later, at time 2. The unadjusted Odds Ratio (OR; 95% confidence interval) for dementia at time 2 was 0.72 (0.55, 0.95) per point. The adjusted OR for dementia was 0.70 (0.51, 0.96). No individual item on the life satisfaction scale predicted dementia. However, the competing risk of mortality was very high for some items.


A global single-item measure of life satisfaction predicts dementia over a five year period in older adults without cognitive impairment.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Philip St. John, MD MPH FRCPC, Associate Professor, Head, Section of Geriatrics, University of Manitoba, GG 441 Health Sciences Centre, 820 Sherbrook Street, Winnipeg, MB, R3A 1R9, Canada. Phone: (204) 787-3365; Fax: (204) 787-4826. Email:


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General life satisfaction predicts dementia in community living older adults: a prospective cohort study

  • Lorraine Peitsch (a1), Suzanne L. Tyas (a2), Verena H. Menec (a3) (a4) and Philip D. St. John (a1) (a4)


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