Seniors who report being satisfied with their standard of living are more than twice as likely to report being emotionally healthy, according to the Gallup-Healthways Emotional Health Index, a measure of emotional wellbeing. The finding transcends many other factors, including gender, race, marital status, education, employment, region and age among those 65 and older living in the U.S. and the U.K. Some 80 percent of those studied reported satisfaction with their standard of living.

In addition to standard of living, the index reveals that older Americans who are still employed have higher scores than those who are not, despite the fact that only 9 percent of those 65 and over work full time and 11 percent work part time. Thus, the research suggests, employment may actually be better for seniors’ emotional health than retirement from work. The correlation with emotional wellbeing, however, was not at strong as with satisfaction with standard of living.

Physical health also strongly impacted emotional wellbeing. Seniors who rated their their physical health as “excellent” or “very good” were significantly more likely to have high emotional health scores.

Because seniors’ satisfaction with standard of living, employment status and physical health impact emotional health so substantially, any steps to improve these factors earlier in life may pay important health dividends later.

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