Despite major advancements in understanding of the factors associated with mental health in older adults, studies assessing positive behaviours, attitudes and virtues are still scarce in the literature.
This study aims to investigate whether factors related to positive behaviours, attitudes and virtues are associated with mental health (i.e. depression, anxiety and stress) and satisfaction with life in Brazilian community-dwelling older adults.
A population-based, cross-sectional study of Brazilian older adults who were users of the public health system and seen by Family Health teams was conducted in 2017. Instruments were applied to assess cognition, physical activity, sleep, quality of life, social support, religiousness, spirituality, satisfaction with life, resilience, altruism, volunteerism, loneliness, meaning in life and mental health (i.e. depression, anxiety and stress). Analyses were carried out using linear and logistic regression models.
A total of 534 (93.5%) older adults were included. Positive behavioural factors and values including volunteerism, meaning in life, resilience, peace, loneliness, faith and religiousness were associated with mental health outcomes (i.e. depression, anxiety and stress), as were traditional factors, such as sleep, gender, social support and cognitive state.
Aspects related to positive behaviour, attitudes and virtues can impact the mental health of the older population. These results can serve to alert health professionals on the importance of addressing these factors and help guide the implementation of preventive measures and interventions for this age group.