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Activity, Social Network and Well-Being: An Empirical Examination

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 November 2010

Howard Litwin
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem


A study ofolder adults in Israel (n = 170) examined the relationship of activity level and social network characteristics to respondents' subjective well-being, controlling for background socio-demographic characteristics and extent of physical disability. Factor analysis derived three activity factors corresponding to formal, informal and solitary activity. A hierarchical regression procedure revealed that physical disability accounted for 40 per cent of the variance in the well-being measure. Extent of informal activity explained another 3 percent of the variance, but was outweighed in the final model by the addition of a social network factor – degree of network supportiveness (R2 =.48). The findings suggest that it is the social network aspect of activity that makes a difference in older persons' subjective well-being, rather than the effect of activity per se.


Une étude de personnes ágeés en Israel (n = 170) a examiné la relation qui lient le niveau d'activité et certaines charactéristiques du réseau social, au bien-être subjectif des répondants, tout en controllant les charactéristiques socio-démographiques de bases, ainsi que l'ampleur de l'incapacité physique. Une analyse factorielle a dérivé trois facteurs d'activité correspondant aux activités officielles, informelles et solitaires. Une procédure de régression hiérarchique a révélé que l'incapacité physique expliquait 40 pour cent de la variance dans la mesure du bien-être. Le niveau d'activité informelle expliquait 3 pour cent supplémentaires de la variance, mais a cependant été affaibli dans le model final par l'addition d'un facteur du réseau social – le degré de soutien fourni par le réseau (R2 = .48). Les résultats laissent penser que c'est l'aspect réseau social de l'activité qui fait la différence dans le bien-être subjectif des personnes âgées, plutôt que l'effet de l'activité elle-même.

Copyright © Canadian Association on Gerontology 2000

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