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Life satisfaction among older people in Italy in a gender approach



Over the last few decades, increasing attention has been paid to the issue of wellbeing among older people, and life satisfaction has been used as an indicator to evaluate older people's life conditions. This paper sheds some light on this topic with reference to Italy, a country characterised by an increasing ageing population. The aim is to examine life satisfaction among people aged 65 and older and its predictors. We adopt a gender approach to examine whether – as suggested by the literature – older men and women have different sources of satisfaction. We test this hypothesis in Italy, a country still characterised by an unbalanced public and private gender system. In doing this, we also control whether living arrangements – specifically living alone – influence the determinants of life satisfaction of older men and women. The data used are from the cross-sectional surveys ‘Aspects of Daily Life’, undertaken in Italy by the National Statistical Institute. The results do not show clear gender differences in the determinants of life satisfaction, with only some slight gender differences among those living alone. This suggests that the social and cultural environment may play a relevant role for older people's life satisfaction.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Silvia Meggiolaro, Department of Statistical Sciences, University of Padova, Via C. Battisti, 241, 35141, Padova, Italy. E-mail:


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Ageing & Society
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