Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie

, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 372–378 | Cite as

Outdoor motivation moderates the effects of accessibility on mobility in old age

  • Stefan T. Kamin
  • Anja Beyer
  • Frieder R. Lang



Mobility plays a major role in healthy aging and social participation. This study explored whether accessibility problems in the housing environment are negatively associated with mobility in old age and whether this association is moderated by differences in an individual's preference for spending time outside the home (outdoor motivation).

Material and methods

This article reports the results of a research project on mobility in old age. The project included a survey study of 120 community-dwelling older adults between 59 and 92 years of age (mean = 71.7 years, SD = 7.3 years) living in the metropolitan region of Nuremberg, Germany. Objective assessments were conducted in the participants' housing environment to evaluate the magnitude of accessibility problems.


Accessibility problems were negatively associated with mobility. Interaction analyses suggested a buffering effect of outdoor motivation on this association, i.e. participants who reported a preference for spending time outside the home had a higher mobility in the face of accessibility problems as compared with those who preferred staying at home.


Outdoor motivation may have protective effects for older adults when accessibility problems challenge mobility. These findings contribute to improving the understanding of how and under what circumstances older adults stay mobile and active in everyday life. Considering interindividual differences in outdoor motivation may binterventions and public health programs that are aimed at enhancing mobility and social participation in old age.


Housing Enabler Motivation Ecology of aging Mobility limitations Architectural barriers 

Außerhäusliche Motivation moderiert die Auswirkungen von Zugänglichkeitsproblemen auf die Mobilität im hohen Alter



Mobilität ist verbunden mit der Aufrechterhaltung von Gesundheit und sozialer Teilhabe im Alter. In dieser Arbeit wird untersucht, ob Zugänglichkeitsprobleme in der häuslichen Umgebung mit einer geringeren Mobilität im Alter verbunden sind. Weiterhin wird untersucht, inwiefern dieser Zusammenhang durch interindividuelle Unterschiede außerhäuslicher mobilitätsbezogener Motivation (outdoor motivation) moderiert wird.


In diesem Beitrag werden die Ergebnisse eines Forschungsprojekts zur Mobilität im Alter vorgestellt. Das Projekt umfasste eine postalische Fragebogenstudie mit 120 älteren Personen im Alter von 59 bis 92 Jahren (M = 71,7; SD = 7,3) in der Metropolregion Nürnberg. Weiterhin wurden objektive Erhebungen in der häuslichen Umgebung der Studienteilnehmer durchgeführt, um die Ausprägung individueller Zugänglichkeitsprobleme zu ermitteln.


Zugänglichkeitsprobleme waren mit einer geringeren Mobilität der Studienteilnehmer verbunden. Dieser Zusammenhang wurde durch die außerhäusliche mobilitätsbezogene Motivation moderiert. Personen mit einer Präferenz für außerhäusliche Mobilität berichteten unter der Bedingung von Zugänglichkeitsproblemen eine höhere Mobilität als Personen die innerhäuslich motiviert waren.


Außerhäusliche Motivation kann einen protektiven Effekt für die Aufrechterhaltung von Mobilität haben, wenn diese durch Zugänglichkeitsprobleme eingeschränkt ist. Die Befunde können zu einem besseren Verständnis der Bedingungen aktiven Alterns beitragen und haben Implikationen für Interventionen und Gesundheitsprogramme mit dem Ziel, Mobilität und soziale Teilhabe im Alter zu unterstützen.


Housing Enabler Motivation Ökologie des Alterns Mobilitätseinschränkungen Räumliche Barrieren 



This research was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF grant number 16SV5703).

We thank Jane Zagorski and Franziska Damm for valuable comments on the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical guidelines

Conflict of interest

Stefan T. Kamin, Anja Beyer and Frieder R. Lang state that there are no conflicts of interest.

All studies on humans described in the present manuscript were carried out with the approval of the responsible ethics committee and in accordance with national law and the Helsinki Declaration of 1975 (in its current, revised form). Informed consent was obtained from all patients included in studies.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of PsychogerontologyFriedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-NürnbergNurembergGermany

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