, Volume 22, Issue 7, pp 1647-1654
Date: 19 Nov 2012

Physical activity and quality of life in older adults: an 18-month panel analysis

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Although physical activity has been associated with quality of life (QOL), the empirical evidence regarding the mechanisms underlying this relationship is limited. In the present study, we examined the mediating roles played by self-efficacy and health status in the physical activity–QOL relationship from baseline to 18-month follow-up in a sample of community-dwelling older adults.


Community-dwelling adults (N = 321, M age = 63.8 years) were recruited to participate in a cross-sectional study and were later contacted to participate in an 18-month follow-up. Individuals completed a battery of questionnaires assessing physical activity, self-efficacy, physical self-worth, disability limitations, and quality of life. A panel analysis within a covariance modeling framework was used to analyze the data.


Overall, the model was a good fit to the data (χ2 = 61.00, df = 29, p < 0.001, standardized root mean residual = 0.05, Comparative Fit Index = 0.97) with changes in physical activity indirectly influencing change in life satisfaction from baseline to 18 months via changes in exercise self-efficacy, physical self-worth, and disability limitations independent of baseline relationships and demographic factors. Specifically, increases in physical activity were associated with increases in exercise self-efficacy which, in turn, was associated with higher physical self-worth and fewer disability limitations which were associated with greater life satisfaction.


The findings from this study suggest the relationship between physical activity and global QOL in older adults may be mediated by more proximal modifiable outcomes that can be targeted in physical activity programs and interventions.