Social Relations, Physical Activity, and Well-Being in Older Adults

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.
Preventive Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.09). 12/2000; 31(5):608-17. DOI: 10.1006/pmed.2000.0740
Source: PubMed


A randomized controlled trial was conducted to examine: (a) the effect of two physical activity modes on changes in subjective well-being (SWB) over the course of a 12-month period in older, formerly sedentary adults (N = 174, M age = 65.5 years) and (b) the role played by physical activity participation and social support in changes in SWB over time.
Participants were randomized into either an aerobic activity group or a stretching and toning group. Structural equation modeling was employed to conduct multiple sample latent growth curve analyses of individual growth in measures of SWB (happiness, satisfaction with life, and loneliness) over time.
A curvilinear growth pattern was revealed with well-being significantly improving over the course of the intervention followed by significant declines at the 6-month follow-up. Subsequent structural analyses were conducted showing that frequency of exercise participation was a significant predictor of improvement in satisfaction with life, whereas social relations were related to increases in satisfaction with life and reductions in loneliness. Improvements in social relations and exercise frequency also helped to buffer the declines in satisfaction with life at follow-up.
It appears that social relations integral to the exercise environment are significant determinants of subjective well-being in older adults. Findings are discussed in terms of how physical activity environments might be structured to maximize improvements in more global well-being constructs such as satisfaction with life.

45 Reads
    • "Therefore, it is critical to investigate alternative approaches for reducing depressive symptoms in vulnerable elders. Some randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have found that physical activity can be an effective treatment for depression and can slow cognitive decline in older adults with cognitive complaints (McAuley et al., 2000; Lautenschlager et al., 2008). However, most older adults are sedentary, and even those who exercise often have poor adherence (Rosenberg et al., 2010). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Depressive symptoms are common in older adults and associated with increased risk of cognitive impairment. Leisure activities are often promoted for individuals with mood symptoms but few studies compare the effects of different types of leisure activities on reducing depressive symptoms. Data were analyzed from participants enrolled from 2008-2009 in the Mental Activity and eXercise (MAX) Trial, which examined the effects of physical plus mental activity over 12 weeks in inactive older adults with cognitive complaints. There were no significant differences between intervention groups on the primary outcome of cognitive function or the secondary outcome of depressive symptoms; therefore, all participants were combined for the current analyses in which we examined changes in leisure activity engagement (Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors (CHAMPS)), and changes in depressive symptoms (Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS)) as a function of changes in leisure activity engagement from baseline to post-intervention. Participants' mean age was 73.0 years, 61.6% were female, and 63.6% were non-Hispanic white. There was a significant change in total hours per week engaged in leisure activities from baseline (36.7 hours, SD = 12.7) to post-intervention (40.4 hours, SD = 15.7; paired t-test p = 0.02), and mean change in depressive symptoms was significantly inversely correlated with change in leisure activity hours such that increases in total leisure activity were associated with decreases in depressive symptoms (r = -0.21, p = 0.04). Increasing the total amount of leisure activity levels may help lower depressive symptoms in inactive older adults with cognitive complaints.
    International Psychogeriatrics 08/2015; DOI:10.1017/S1041610215001246 · 1.93 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Activities undertaken in group create bonds and protect against loneliness, reduce sense of loneliness [20]. Amateur sports clubs provide social support to the elderly, but also a chance for an intergeneration dialogue. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A significant increase in sports-leisure activity events in recent years presents the opportunity to compete in all age categories. Among the many sport varieties, special attention ought to be paid to amateur sports—recreational sports, particularly in the context of the increasing leisure time among the elderly. Recreational sports activities are free of many distortions and defects of the modern professional sport. Recreational sports are egalitarian, not exclusive. The health paradigm is always at the heart of it, along with a strong emphasis on hedonism. Sport activities reveal self-fulfillment as the highest needs, giving fulfillment and satisfaction. The ease in the selection of a sports goal makes the amateur sports an important tool for the shaping of persons’ life and health. A sports goal, which is participating in sports events, provides a strong motivation for systematic work. Striving for transgression is a source of strong emotions and satisfaction. Struggling with a persons’ own body, with old age, may be a valuable challenge that would positively impact wellbeing in the psychosocial aspect. This study shows a social phenomenon of sports activity among the elderly, dynamically growing in Poland. It also presents multiple benefits for the general wellbeing as well as the potential threats which a lack of distance to the sports rivalry may cause when it crosses the line behind which a persistent pursuit of the purpose (sport result) may end up in health damage. The line between recreation and sport is thin and difficult to distinguish Animators, trainers, and instructors need to skillfully manage the interests of older people so that their involvement in physical activity determines a safe and healthy lifestyle.
    Advances in Aging Research 07/2014; 3(3):222-229. DOI:10.4236/aar.2014.33031
  • Source
    • "In the domain of exercise, such perceived effects, success, or competencies lead to an enhancement of physical self-efficacy, control beliefs [4], and self-evaluation [9]. Furthermore, for the elderly, McAuley showed that social support during an exercise program had positive effects on well-being [18]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Physical self-concept and physical self-esteem are important sources of general self-esteem and overall health. Evidence indicates that exercise leads to an enhancement in physical self-concept and physical self-esteem. Until now however, it remained unclear whether the bene-ficial effects of exercise were impacted by different types of exercise environments. Thus, the pur-pose of this study was to experimentally investigate, whether the presence or absence of an in-structor or other group members influenced elder adults' physical self-concept and esteem. Me-thod: Participants were 46 women and 20 men (Mean age 65.4, SD = 4.36) who were randomly as-signed to one of four experimental groups differing across two factors—group versus no-group and instructor versus no-instructor. Participants took part in an 8-week-walking program with a com-parable number of training sessions across the four experimental groups. Physical self-concept and physical self-esteem were assessed both pre and post exercise intervention. Results: Descrip-tively, the highest improvement in physical self-concept and esteem were observed in the ins-tructor/no-group and the no-instructor/group condition. Between these two conditions, no signi-ficant difference of change was observed. Moreover, no improvement was observed when both in-structor and group were present. Conclusion: Effects of either instructor presence or group pres-ence may be explained by mechanisms of social integration and social support. An unexpected absence of effects on self-concept and esteem under the instructor/group condition are explained with reference to an individual's cognitive dissonance caused by the need to adapt to different ex-ercise oriented goals or attitudes of the instructor and the group members which might hinder the positive development of the self. J. Kleinert et al.
    Health 06/2014; 6(6):1616-1627. DOI:10.4236/health.2014.613194 · 0.51 Impact Factor
Show more