Inner strength and its relationship to health threats in ageing-A cross-sectional study among community-dwelling older women

Erika Boman, Berit Lundman, Björn Nygren, Kristofer Årestedt, Regina Santamäki Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract AIM:

To explore the relationship between inner strength and health threats among community-dwelling older women.


Inner strength is described as a resource that promotes experiences of health, despite adversities. Inner strength and its dimensions (i.e. connectedness, creativity, firmness and flexibility) can be assessed using the Inner Strength Scale (ISS). Exploring attributes of weaker inner strength may yield valuable information about areas to focus on in enhancing a person's inner strength and may ultimately lead to the perception of better health.


Cross-sectional questionnaire survey.


The study is based on responses from 1270 community-dwelling older women aged 65 years and older; these were collected in the year 2010 and describe the situation that still exists today for older women. The questionnaire included the ISS, background characteristics and explanatory variables known to be health threats in ageing. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics.


Poorer mental health was related to weaker inner strength in total and in all the dimensions. Symptoms of depressive disorders and feeling lonely were related to three of the dimensions, except firmness and creativity respectively. Furthermore, poor physical health was associated with the dimensions firmness and flexibility. Other health threats were significantly related to only one of the dimensions, or not associated at all.


Mental ill health has overall the strongest association with weaker inner strength. Longitudinal studies are recommended to confirm the results. However, the ISS does not only estimate inner strength but can also be a tool for discovering where (i.e. dimension) interventions may be most profitable.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)2720–2729
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Inner strength
  • cross-sectional
  • Older women
  • health threats
  • Nursing Care

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