Emotional distress mediates the relationship between cognitive failures, dysfunctional coping and life satisfaction in older people living in sheltered housing: A structural equation modelling approach
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OBJECTIVES: Little is known about the relationship between cognitive failures, emotional distress and life satisfaction in late life. Experiencing cognitive failures is a known risk for declining life satisfaction in older people, though the mechanisms that may explain cognitive failures remain unclear. This study investigated the associations between psychosocial factors, cognitive failures and coping strategies and their influence on life satisfaction in older people living in sheltered housing. METHODS: A total of 204 older people living in sheltered housing in London were recruited (mean age = 75.08 years). We used structural equation modelling path analysis to test several hypotheses based on theories of emotional distress (anxiety and depression) and cognitive failures and their influence on life satisfaction. RESULTS: Self-reported depressive symptoms (29.5%), anxiety symptoms (33%) and cognitive failures (41%) were common. The final model had a good fit (X(2) =2.67; DF=2; P=0.26; NFI=.99, CFI=.99; RMSEA=0.04); analyses showed that both cognitive failures and dysfunctional coping were significantly associated and exerted a moderate effect on emotional distress. Cognitive failures and dysfunctional coping had an indirect effect on life satisfaction through emotional distress which directly decreased levels of life satisfaction (beta=-.70, p</=0.001). CONCLUSIONS: This study found that experiencing emotional distress helped to explain the association and negative effects of cognitive failures and dysfunctional coping on life satisfaction in older people living in sheltered housing. These findings contribute to our understanding of the key mechanisms of experiencing cognitive failures in late life and can help guide future interventions of well-being in later life.