Experienced Subjective Well-Being During Physically Active and Passive Leisure Time Activities Among Adults Aged 65 Years and Older

Takashi Yamashita, Anthony R. Bardo, Darren Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives: The encore years, or later life stages when adults enjoy health and free time, are the prime opportunity for leisure to maximize the overall quality of life. Physically active leisure is widely known to be linked to overall subjective well-being (SWB). However, experienced SWB or momentary emotion during active leisure as well as passive leisure has yet to be examined. Research Design and Methods: Data were derived from the 2012/2013 American Time Use Survey Well-being modules. Propensity score matching (PSM) was used to identify comparable matched samples of older adults. Results: The PSM identified 211 older adults who reported a series of emotions (i.e., happy, meaningful, tired, sad, stressed, pain) during active leisure, and the comparable counterpart (n = 211) during passive leisure. Results from the Wilcoxon Rank Sum tests showed that active leisure was associated with greater levels of experienced happiness and meaningfulness, as well as with lower levels of sadness (p < .05). Discussion and Implications: Physically active leisure is linked to greater levels of experienced SWB among older adults. Although more detailed roles of active and passive leisure for experienced SWB are yet to be verified, choices that older adults make in their free time may significantly impact their experienced SWB and, in turn, their overall quality of life. Aging and public health policies should enhance accessibility to active leisure to promote older adults’ SWB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)718-726
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved.


  • Exercise/physical activity
  • Life course/life span
  • Quality of life
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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