The impact of life events on later life: A latent class analysis of the English longitudinal study of ageing

Oby Enwo, Emily Player, Nicholas Steel, John Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives: Inequalities in life events can lead to inequalities in older age. This research aimed to explore associations between life events reported by older people and quality of life (QoL) and functional ability.

Study Design: A latent class analysis (LCA) of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing wave 3.

Methods: Participants were grouped according to eight life events: parental closeness, educational opportunities in childhood, financial hardship, loss of an unborn child, bereavement due to war, involvement in conflict, violence, and experiencing a natural disaster. Linear and logistic regression were used to explore associations between these groups and the main outcomes of functional ability and QoL.

Results: 7,555 participants were allocated to four LCA groups: “Few life events” (n=6,250), “Emotionally cold mother” (n=724), “Violence in combat” (n=274) and “Many life events” (n=307). Reduced QoL was reported in the “many life events” (coefficient -5.33, 95%CI -6.61 to -4.05), “emotionally cold mother” (-1.89, -2.62 to 1.15) and “violence in combat” (-1.95, -3.08 to -0.82) groups, compared to the “few life events” group. The “many life events” group also reported more difficulty with activities of daily living.

Conclusions: Policies aimed at reducing inequalities in older age should consider events across the life course.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e180–e187
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue number2
Early online date11 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2021


  • ageing
  • life course
  • older people

Cite this