This study explores the association between physical activity (PA), loneliness, and the presence of physical chronic impairments among single older adults. A longitudinal study (N = 575; mean age 76 ± 8 years) was conducted. The association between self-reported weekly minutes of moderate to vigorous PA, loneliness, and presence of physical impairments was assessed with multilevel analyses at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months. Improvements in moderate to vigorous PA were associated with decreases in loneliness (B = −0.09, SE = 0.04, p = .020); this association became nonsignificant when including the presence of physical impairments in the analyses (p = .824), which in itself was positively associated with loneliness (B = 0.51, SE = 0.10, p < .001). Findings indicate that physical impairments have a larger influence on loneliness than the level of PA. Interventions targeting PA and loneliness should tailor specifically to physical impairments.
Janet M. Boekhout, Brenda A.J. Berendsen, Denise A. Peels, Catherine A.W. Bolman and Lilian Lechner
Rob J.H. van Bree, Catherine Bolman, Aart N. Mudde, Maartje M. van Stralen, Denise A. Peels, Hein de Vries and Lilian Lechner
These longitudinal studies in older adults targeted mediated relationships between habit and physical activity (PA). In The Netherlands two independent studies were conducted among 1976 (Study 1: Mage = 63.63, SD = 8.66, 30% functional limitations) and 2140 (Study 2: Mage = 62.75, SD = 8.57, 45% functional limitations) adults aged 50 years or older. Cross-lagged panel designs were applied to examine whether habit mediates the relationship between prior and later PA and whether PA simultaneously mediates the relationship between prior and later habit. Data on habit and PA were collected by means of questionnaires at baseline (t0) and at 6 (t1) and 12 (t2) months after baseline measurement. Results of structural equation modeling analyses were not unambiguous. Indications for the existence of both hypothesized mediation effects were found, but no clear, unequivocal pattern appeared. Somewhat more support was found for the PA-habit-PA path than for the habit-PA-habit path. More research is needed to draw more definitive conclusions.