Subjective well-being (SWB) and its relationship with physical activity have not been systematically investigated in older Chinese people. This study explored these issues using qualitative interviews with a purposive sample of 23 community-dwelling Chinese older adults (age 55–78 y, 12 women); 16 were physically active and 7 physically inactive. Using cross-case analyses, 7 dimensions of SWB emerged: physical, psychological, developmental, material, spiritual, sociopolitical, and social. Although elements of SWB may be shared across cultures, specific distinctions were identified. Active respondents reported the unique contributions of physical activity to the physical, psychological, developmental, and social elements of SWB. The findings suggest that physical activity could enhance the quality of life in Chinese older adults.
Ku is with the Graduate Institute of Sports and Health, National Changhua University of Education, Changhua 500 Taiwan. McKenna is with the Carnegie Research Institute, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK. Fox is with the Dept. of Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Bristol, UK.