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    French, Davina J Browning, Colette Kendig, Hal Luszcz, Mary A Saito, Yasuhiko Sargent-Cox, Kerry and Anstey, Kaarin J 2012. A simple measure with complex determinants: investigation of the correlates of self-rated health in older men and women from three continents. BMC Public Health, Vol. 12, Issue. 1,


Cross-national insights into the relationship between wealth and wellbeing: a comparison between Australia, the United States of America and South Korea

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 24 February 2011

The positive relationship between wealth and wellbeing has received considerable attention over the last three decades. However, little is known about how the significance of wealth for the health and wellbeing of older adults may vary across societies. Furthermore, researchers tend to focus mainly on income rather than other aspects of financial resources even though older adults often rely on fixed income, particularly after retirement. Using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey (N=1,431), the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) in the United States of America (USA; N=4,687), and the Korean Longitudinal Study of Ageing (KLoSA; N=5,447), this exploratory cross-national study examined the relationship between wealth satisfaction and objective wealth and wellbeing (measured as self-rated health and life satisfaction) among older Australians, Americans and Koreans (50+ years). Regression analyses showed that wealth satisfaction was associated with wellbeing over and above monetary wealth in all three countries. The relationship between monetary wealth and self-rated health was larger for the US than Australian and Korean samples, while the additional contribution of wealth satisfaction to life satisfaction was larger for the Korean than the Australian and US samples. These findings are discussed in terms of the cultural and economic differences between these countries, particularly as they affect older persons.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Davina French, Centre for Mental Health Research, Australian National University, Canberra, 0200, ACT, Australia. E-mail:
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Ageing & Society
  • ISSN: 0144-686X
  • EISSN: 1469-1779
  • URL: /core/journals/ageing-and-society
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