Physical activity enhances long-term quality of life in older adults: Efficacy, esteem, and affective influences

Academic Article


  • Background: Physical activity has been effective in enhancing quality of life (QOL) of older adults over relatively short periods of time. However, little is known about the long-term effects of physical activity and even less about the possible mediators of this relationship. Purpose: We examined the mediating effects of psychological variables on the relationship between physical activity and global QOL (satisfaction with life) in older adults over a 4-year period. Methods: Participants (N = 174, M age = 66.7 years) completed a battery of psychosocial measures at 1 and 5 years following enrollment in a 6-month randomized controlled exercise trial. Results: Panel analysis conducted within a covariance modeling framework indicated that physical activity was related to self-efficacy, physical self-esteem, and positive affect at 1 year, and in turn, greater levels of self-efficacy and positive affect were associated with higher levels of QOL. Analyses indicated that changes in physical activity over the 4-year period were related to increases in physical self-esteem and positive affect, but only positive affect directly influenced improvements in QOL. Conclusions: The findings lend support to the position that physical activity effects on QOL are in part mediated by intermediate psychological outcomes and that physical activity can have long-term effects on well-being. © 2005 by The Society of Behavioral Medicine.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Elavsky S; McAuley E; Motl RW; Konopack JF; Marquez DX; Hu L; Jerome GJ; Diener E
  • Start Page

  • 138
  • End Page

  • 145
  • Volume

  • 30
  • Issue

  • 2