Quality of life and mental health among Thai older workers in community enterprises
Purpose – An aging society is a growing global reality resulting in an increasing number of older workers, especially in community enterprises. It is important to understand factors that influence the mental health and quality of life (QOL) of these older workers. The purpose of this paper is to explore the influence of personal, work, and mental health factors on the QOL among older workers in community enterprises.
Design/methodology/approach – This cross-sectional study examined the mental health and QOL of 387 older workers from three industries: food production, handicraft, and farm-related work. These participants formed a representative sample of the 19,200 members of the 1,184 groups in the community enterprise sector in Nakhon Ratchasima province. Stratified random sampling technique was used. Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation Analysis was used to examine the factors associated with QOL. A multiple regression statistical model was used to examine the QOL predicting factors.
Findings – The response rate for this study was 93.25 percent. The majority of participants were female (73.4 percent). The majority of older workers were educated to primary school educational level (81.4 percent). The ratio of workers within each project included farm-related work (36.7 percent), handicraft (37.7 percent) and food production (25.6 percent). Most older workers (90.2 percent) had normal mental health based on their GHQ screening. The overall QOL average score was 88.43 (SD 10.43). The results suggested that the QOL is related to age, income, somatic symptoms, anxiety and insomnia, social dysfunction, severe depression, and mental health problems. Additionally, multiple regression analysis indicated social dysfunction and income were significant predictors for the QOL of older workers with R2=0.118, F=15.53 ( p<0.001).
Originality/value – With the results showing associations between personal factors and work factors relating to QOL, it is important for health professionals to pay attention to older workers’ work environments, financial issues, and mental health.
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