BACKGROUND: The quality of life (QoL) of older adults is a key aspect of healthy ageing, and older adults' socioeconomic status (SES), the neighbourhood they live in and their social networks (SN) are known to impact QoL. However, little is known about the interaction between these concepts. The aim was to examine how SN, SES and neighbourhood type are associated with QoL in older adults.
METHODS: : Wave 4 (year 2011) and wave 6 (year 2015) data from the longitudinal Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe were used for the analysis. Multilevel regression models estimated the associations including 34 792 participants from wave 4 and 67 334 participants from wave 6 from 16 countries (mean age = 66.45 years). The outcome variable was QoL, independent variables were SES (education and making end meet) and neighbourhood type (housing type and housing area), and SN variables (satisfaction and size) were the moderators.
RESULTS: : SES and SN variables were positively associated with QoL. Living in a house or duplex was positively associated with QoL compared with living in a farmhouse. SN moderated the association between education and QoL. The effect of area type on QoL was moderated by SN size. SN satisfaction was an independent correlate of QoL.
CONCLUSION: : Older adults' satisfaction with their SN may be more important than having a large SN. Low SES older adults may be more prone to having weak SN. Maintaining and creating supportive SN may attenuate the negative effects of low SES or less favourable neighbourhood characteristics.