Activities and well-being in older age: effects of self-concept and educational attainment

Psychol Aging. 1998 Jun;13(2):179-85. doi: 10.1037//0882-7974.13.2.179.


The positive effect of activities on well-being is proposed to be mediated by self-conceptualizations and facilitated by socioeconomic status. The hypothesized processes were estimated with LISREL VIII using data from a large cross-sectional survey with a sample of 679 adults aged 65 and older who were representative of older adults living in the Detroit area. Findings indicate that the frequency of performing both leisure and productive activities yields an effect on physical health and depression and that these effects are mediated in part by a sense of self as agentic, but less clearly by a sense of self as social. Furthermore, socioeconomic status, operationalized as formal educational attainment, facilitates the effect of leisure to a greater extent than that of productive activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology
  • Aged / psychology*
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Causality
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Databases, Factual
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys
  • Human Activities / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities / psychology
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Models, Psychological
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Identification
  • Urban Health