Ethnic and Gender Differences in Preferred Activities among Māori and non-Māori of Advanced age in New Zealand
This study explored active aging for older Māori and non-Māori by examining their self-nominated important everyday activities. The project formed part of the first wave of a longitudinal cohort study of aging well in New Zealand. Māori aged 80 to 90 and non-Māori aged 85 were recruited. Of the 937 participants enrolled, 649 answered an open question about their three most important activities. Responses were coded under the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), Activities and Participation domains. Data were analyzed by ethnicity and gender for first in importance, and all important activities. Activity preferences for Māori featured gardening, reading, walking, cleaning the home, organized religious activities, sports, extended family relationships, and watching television. Gendered differences were evident with walking and fitness being of primary importance for Māori men, and gardening for Māori women. Somewhat similar, activity preferences for non-Māori featured gardening, reading, and sports. Again, gendered differences showed for non-Māori, with sports being of first importance to men, and reading to women. Factor analysis was used to examine the latent structural fit with the ICF and whether it differed for Māori and non-Māori. For Māori, leisure and household activities, spiritual activities and interpersonal interactions, and communicating with others and doing domestic activities were revealed as underlying structure; compared to self-care, sleep and singing, leisure and work, and domestic activities and learning for non-Māori. These findings reveal fundamental ethnic divergences in preferences for active aging with implications for enabling participation, support provision and community design.
KeywordsActive aging Activity preferences Advanced age Oldest-old Ethnicity Participation
LiLACS NZ has been funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) and Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence. We acknowledge all participants for their commitment to this study and all community organisations that facilitated the study.
The Active Ageing Research Group, Auckland University of Technology, funded the research assistant.
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