An exploration of antecedents of positive affect among the elderly: a cross-sectional study

Eur J Public Health. 2016 Feb;26(1):187-91. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckv067. Epub 2015 Mar 30.


Background: Positive affect contributes to the healthy life style, which, in turn, explains life satisfaction and psychological well-being among the elderly. Existent literature has reinforced that physical activity participation influences development of positive affect for the elderly. Because of the increased life constraints and physical problems, however, maintenance of positive affect might be challenging for elderly people.

Methods: Data were drawn from a sample of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe. A total sample of 3845 males and 3912 females aged between 65 and 103 years from 16 European countries was analyzed. Perception of life constraints, health problems, physical activity engagement and positive affect were measured by a structured questionnaire. Confirmatory factor analysis and a technique of structural equation modelling were employed using Amos 18 to examine the hypothesized relationships between study variables.

Results: Perceived life constraints and physical problems significantly affected the acquisition of positive affect among the elderly. Physical activity was found to have a significant path coefficient towards the measure of positive attitude and emotion. Physical activity was also a significant mediator between physical problems and positive affect.

Conclusions: This study extended our understanding of how the perception of life constraints and health problems influence the elderly's daily experience. Study finding reinforced the goodness of physical activity participation to enhance positive affect among the elderly. We should administer sustainable and evidence-based physical activity including interventions and infrastructure to improve positive affect and psychological well-bing among the elderly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Europe
  • Exercise
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Quality of Life