Relationship between subjective well-being and healthy lifestyle behaviours in older adults: a longitudinal study

Aging Ment Health. 2020 Apr;24(4):611-619. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2018.1548567. Epub 2018 Dec 28.


Objectives: People who report better subjective well-being tend to be healthier in their daily behaviours. The objective of this study is to assess whether different components of subjective well-being are prospectively associated with different healthy lifestyle behaviours and to assess whether these associations differ by age.Method: A total of 1,892 participants aged 50+ living in Spain were interviewed in 2011-12 and 2014-15. Life satisfaction was measured with the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale. Positive and negative affect were assessed using the Day Reconstruction Method. Physical activity was assessed with the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire version 2. The remaining healthy lifestyle behaviours were self-reported. Generalised Estimating Equations (GEE) models were run.Results: Not having a heavy episodic alcohol drinking was the healthy lifestyle behaviour most fulfilled (97.97%), whereas the intake of five or more fruits and vegetables was the least followed (33.12%). GEE models conducted over the 50-64 and the 65+ age groups showed that a higher life satisfaction was significantly related to a higher physical activity in both groups. Relationships between a higher negative affect and presenting a lower level of physical activity, and a higher positive affect and following the right consumption of fruits and vegetables and being a non-daily smoker, were only found in the older group.Conclusion: The relationship between subjective well-being and healthy lifestyle behaviours was found fundamentally in those aged 65+ years. Interventions focused on incrementing subjective well-being would have an impact on keeping a healthy lifestyle and, therefore, on reducing morbidity and mortality.

Keywords: Positive affect; healthy lifestyle behaviours; life satisfaction; negative affect.

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Aged
  • Diet, Healthy
  • Exercise
  • Health Behavior*
  • Healthy Lifestyle*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-Smokers
  • Spain / epidemiology