Background: Previous studies have examined the relationships between physical health and leisure activities and between leisure activities and well-being, but, to our knowledge, none has examined these relationships simultaneously.
Objective: This study investigated the relationships between leisure activities, health and well-being considering the role of age, and whether leisure activities mediate the relationship between physical health and well-being.
Methods: Utilizing a cross-sectional database of 259 adults (ages 18–81 years) who completed several questionnaires, linear regression models and mediation models were tested. Results: Regression analyses indicated that physical health was related to leisure activities and leisure activities were related to well-being. When physical health was measured by subjective ratings, age had a stronger relationship with leisure activities. However, when physical health was indicated by health restrictions, physical health had a stronger relationship with leisure activities than did age. Leisure activities were a partial mediator of the relationship between physical health and well-being.
Conclusion: The results demonstrated that the reduction in leisure activities with age has more to do with physical health limitations than with older age itself. In addition, regardless of age, the benefits of physical health for well-being are due in part to the level of leisure activity participation. These results highlight the importance of leisure activities for successful aging throughout the adult life span. Interventions designed to improve well-being through increasing leisure activity participation should take physical health into consideration, particularly for older adults.
Paggi, M. E., Jopp, D., & Hertzog, C. (2016). The importance of leisure activities in the relationship between physical health and well-being in a life span sample. Gerontology, 62, 450-458.