Older Adults' Gender, Age and Physical Activity Effects on Anxiety, Optimism, Resilience and Engagement

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Oct 17;17(20):7561. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17207561.


The purpose of the study was to understand the effects of gender and age on anxiety, optimism, resilience and engagement in a group of older adults. An observational, quantitative, descriptive and transversal design was used with non-probabilistic sampling. Descriptive statistical analyses, reliability tests (Cronbach's alpha) and linear correlation tests (Pearson's) were performed, and the development of multivariate linear regression models was conducted. Female participants in the sample had higher levels in anxiety and pessimism, while male participants scored higher in optimism, engagement and resilience. Participants who practiced physical activity (PA) had better scores in optimism, engagement and resilience. The sample comprised 55.1% men and 44.9% women, between the ages of 51 and 93, with an average of 68.1 years, all participants completed the questionnaire Anxiety Scale-2 (SAS-2) the Revised Life Orientation Test (LOT-R) the short version of the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale questionnaire (UWES-9) the short version of the CD-RISC. As for marital status, there were significant differences between single participants and romantic partner. Singles participants showed higher levels of anxiety than their married counterparts, while those in a relationship scored higher in optimism, engagement and resilience. The model was statistically significant F (9;352) = 14.6; p < 0.001, explaining 27% of the variance in optimism. The data indicated that PA practice and living with a partner in an inland area is associated with less anxiety, which may have implications for programs and activities designed for older adults.

Keywords: health; physical activity; successful aging.