Perceived life constraint, physical health problem, and positive affect among older adults from 16 European countries: influence of physical activity

Sunwoo Lee, Palacký University, Olomouc

Objectives. The current study explores the role of physical activity among older adults. Research has supported the contention that the increased life constraint and physical debility among older population diminish the acquisition of life satisfaction and psychological well-being. This study provides the evidence of the positive contribution of physical activity that mitigates the effect of perceived life constraint and physical problem among older adults. Methods. This current study used the data released from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). A total sample of 3,845 male and 3,912 female ages between 65 and 103 years from 16 European countries was analyzed. A technique of structural equation modeling was conducted using Amos 18 to examine the hypothetical relationships between perceived life constraints, reported health problem, and positive attitude and emotion. The contribution of physical activity between the proposed relationships was also examined. Results. Results indicate (1) that perceived life constraints and physical problem significantly affect the acquisition of positive attitude and emotion among older adults; (2) that physical activity was found to have a significant path coefficient toward the measure of positive affect among older adults; and (3) that physical activity is a significant mediator between physical problem and positive affect. Discussion. Finding of the current study is consistent with existent literature by providing empirical evidence that physical activity engagement is a significant factor that mitigates negative influence of physical debility among the aged. Findings of the study also provide better understanding of the older adults’ daily experience, and suggests potential implications for designing effective social support to mitigate negative aspects of ageing among older adults through physical activity. Keywords: Older adults, perceived life constraint, positive affect, life satisfaction, psychological well-being

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Presented in Session 97: Health and well-being in the ageing process