Factors important for health-related quality of life in men and women: The population based SCAPIS study

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Introduction Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is essential for human wellbeing, influenced by a complex interplay of factors, and is reported lower in women than men. We aimed to evaluate which factors were the most important for HRQoL in a middle-aged general population. Methods This was a cross-sectional, multi-centre study of 29,212 men (48%) and women (52%) aged 50–64 in the general population in Sweden. Physical and mental HRQoL (0–100) was assessed using the Short Form 12 questionnaire, and association was evaluated for 356 variables including demographics, lifestyle, symptoms, physiological measurements, and health conditions. Using machine learning, each variable´s importance for HRQoL was measured by an importance score, comparable to effect size, and summarised in 54 factors, in men and women separately. Results Men and women had similar mean and standard deviation (SD) scores for physical HRQoL (53.4 [SD 8.1] vs 51.4 [9.7]) and mental HRQoL (37.1 [5.0] vs 37.3 [5.4]). The most important factors for physical HRQoL were (importance score) physical activity (40), employment (36), pain (33), sleep (33), and sense of control (26). The most important factors for mental HRQoL were sense of control (18), physical activity (12), depression (12), pain (6), and employment (5). Conclusions The factors important for HRQoL identified by this study are likely to be amenable to interventions, and our findings can support prioritising interventions. The identified factors need to be a target even before middle-age to lay the foundation for long and happy lives.

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11 November

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