Leisure activities and quality of life among the oldest old in Sweden

Merril Silverstein, Marti G. Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

269 Scopus citations


Drawing on Rowe and Kahn's (1998) notion that "engagement with life" is a critical component of successful aging, this study tested whether change in leisure activities over a ten year period was associated with retrospectively assessed change in quality of life among older people in Sweden. Hypotheses were tested using a nationally representative sample of 324 older Swedes living in the community, surveyed in 1981 and 1992. Fifteen leisure activities were divided into six domains: culture-entertainment, productive-personal growth, outdoor-physical, recreation-expressive, friendship, and formal-group. Ordered logit analysis revealed that those increasing their activity participation across domains tended to perceive an improvement in their life conditions. This effect was particularly strong among older adults who became widowed, developed functional impairments, and had relatively low contact with family. The results suggest that maximizing activity participation is an adaptive strategy taken by older adults to compensate for social and physical deficits in later life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)528-547
Number of pages20
JournalResearch on Aging
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Leisure activities and quality of life among the oldest old in Sweden'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this