Resilience in Older Adults Living in Rural, Suburban, and Urban Areas


  • Margaret Wells SUNY Upstate Medical University



Background: Possessing high levels of resilience may be one factor that helps older adults adjust to the hardships associated with aging. Residing in a rural, urban, or suburban location may impact the resilience level of older adults.Purpose: First, to determine if resilience levels vary in older adults living in rural, urban, or suburban areas. Second, to determine if the relationships of socio-demographic factors (age, income, education, marital and employment status), social networks, health status, and resilience vary with the location in which older adults live.Methods: Using a cross-sectional design, data were collected from 277 registered voters aged 65 years or over who lived in rural, suburban, or urban locations in New York State. The instruments used were the Resilience Scale, the SF-12v2, and the Lubben Social Network Scale-revised.Results: No differences were found in resilience levels across the three locations. In regression analysis, stronger family networks, lower household income, and good mental and physical health status were found to be significantly associated with high resilience levels.Conclusion: The location in which older adults reside did not affect resilience levels. Strong social ties and good mental and physical health were associated with resilience. The surprising association with resilience was low income. Mental health status was most strongly associated with resilience in older adults. Screening older adults for resilience levels and intervening when low levels are identified by implementing strategies to build resilience may be clinically relevant; however further research is needed.

Author Biography

  • Margaret Wells, SUNY Upstate Medical University
    Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, SUNY Upstate Medical University