Influence of Social Factors to the Quality of Life of the Elderly in Malaysia

Abdul Rashid Khan*, 1, Ibrahim Tahir2
1 Penang Medical College, Department of Public Health Medicine, 4 Sepoy Lines, 10450 Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
2 Penang Hospital, Residency Road, 10450 Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

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© Khan and Tahir et al; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Penang Medical College, Department of Public Health Medicine, 4 Sepoy Lines, 10450 Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia; Tel: +6042263459; Fax: +6042284285; E-mail:


Introduction and Aim:

The increase in the life expectancy does not necessarily correlate with a higher quality of life. The objective of this study was to determine the influences of social factors to the quality of life of the elderly in Malaysia.


This cross sectional study was conducted in Penang, Malaysia among 2005 randomly sampled elderly using the WHOQOL-BREF scale. The sample was randomly collected from a list of residents of the state who are aged 60 years and older who receive the special aid provided by the Penang state government to all elderly residing in Penang irrespective of their socio and economic status.


Regression analysis showed that after controlling for demographic factors which include age, sex, race, marital status, education and employment; living with spouse and family members and being socially active were significantly associated with increased quality of life scores and being dependent on partner and children as compared to being selfdependent on mobility and having poor and moderate support as compared to good social support were significantly associated with decreased quality of life scores.


The quality of life of the elderly is very much influenced by social factors.

Keywords:: Elderly, Malaysia, quality of life, social support.