Well-Being in Rural Appalachia: Age and Gender Patterns Across Five Indicators

Lindsey Roberts, Victoria Banyard, John Grych, Sherry Hamby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Psychological studies often include indicators of physical and mental health as outcomes. However, researchers are now beginning to include a wide range of measures of well-being. The current study uses a cross-sectional community sample from rural Appalachia to examine age and gender trends in traditional outcome measures and in subjective measures of well-being, including health-related quality of life, mental health, positive self-regard, spiritual well-being, and posttraumatic growth. Analyses revealed that while health-related quality of life tends to be lower for older participants, mental health and spiritual well-being tend to be higher for older participants. Positive self-regard showed no significant effects for either age or sex. Curvilinear age effects were seen for health-related quality of life (cubic), spiritual well-being (quadratic), and posttraumatic growth (quadratic), suggesting possible turning points across the lifespan for these indicators of well-being. Significant main effects for sex were seen in health-related quality of life, mental health, and posttraumatic growth, with males reporting better physical and mental health and females reporting higher levels of posttraumatic growth. Intervention and prevention efforts might aim to promote aspects multiple aspects of well-being throughout the lifespan, particularly those aspects that are most stable across age and sex (such as a positive self-regard), and future research could expand upon these patterns to include an older population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-410
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


  • Health
  • Lifespan
  • Rural
  • Well-being


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