Health, coping and subjective well-being: results of a longitudinal study of elderly Israelis

Sara Carmel, Victoria H. Raveis, Norm O'Rourke, Hava Tovel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The aim of this study was to test a conceptual model designed to promote the understanding of factors influencing subjective well-being (SWB) in old age. Within this framework, we evaluated the relative influences on elderly Israelis' SWB of health and/or function, personal resources, coping behaviors (reactive and proactive), and changes in all of these factors over time. Method: At baseline, 1216 randomly selected elderly persons (75+) were interviewed at home (T1) and 1019 one year later (T2). The conceptual model was evaluated by Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) analysis using AMOS 18. Results: After one year, a relatively high percentage of participants reported decline in health/function (DHF) and in personal resources. The effects of the study variables on T2-SWB were evaluated by a SEM analysis, resulting in a satisfying fit: χ2 = 279.5 (df = 102), p <.001, CFI =.970, NFI =.954, TLI =.955, RMSEA =.046. In addition to significant direct effects of health/function on T2-SWB, health/function was found to indirectly influence T2-SWB. Our analysis showed that health/function had a negative influence on the positive effects of personal resources (function self-efficacy, social support) and the diverse effects of the coping patterns (goal-reengagement–positive; expectations for future care needs–negative; having concrete plans for future care–positive). Conclusion: Personal resources and use of appropriate coping behaviors enable elderly people to control their well-being even in the presence of DHF. Evidence-based interventions can help older people to acquire and/or strengthen effective personal resources and coping patterns, thus, promoting their SWB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)616-623
Number of pages8
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 3 2017


  • Subjective well-being
  • health
  • personal resources
  • proactive coping
  • reactive coping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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