The purpose of this population-based study is to examine the association between subjective quality of life and rural/urban residence in six Italian regions, including age and gender into the analysis.


Study design:

community survey.

Study population:

Samples stratified according to sex and age, drawn from municipal records. Sample size: 4999 people 18 years and older, from seven communities within six regions of Italy.


Ad-hoc form to assess basic demographic data; SF-12. Interviewers were trained psychologists or medical doctors.


3398 subjects were interviewed (68% of recruited sample). The mean score of SF-12 in the overall sample was 38.4±6.1, SF-12 was higher in men than in in women (38.4±6.1 vs 37.5±5.9 F=99.18, df 1, 3396, 3397, p<0.0001); SF-12 score decreased from the youngest to the oldest age group, with significant differences between all ages groups; men showed higher scores in all age groups. The urban/rural difference of mean scores of SF-12 did not achieve statistical significance in women. Young men with urban residence had higher SF-12 scores than their counterparts with rural residence. Maen aged 65 years and older with rural residence showed, by contrast, higher scores than men from the same age group with urban residence.


Men show a higher subjective quality of life than women.

  1. Subjective quality of life decreases with age in both genders.
  2. Men are more sensitive to urban/rural residence than women.
  3. Young men live better in cities, elderly men better in rural areas.

Keywords: Quality of life, Urban/rural residence, Gender, Age, Community Survey.
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