Ageing International

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 78–92 | Cite as

Re-Examining the Role of Engaging in Activities: Does its Effect on Mortality Change by Age among the Chinese Elderly?



Engaging in activities has been found beneficial overall to individuals’ well-being. What has not been systemically tested with large sample data is whether such benefits diminish at very old ages. This study uses the Chinese Longitudinal Health Longevity Survey (CLHLS) between 2002 and 2008 to test how the effect of engaging in activities on mortality changes by age among the elderly. Approximately half of the 16,064 people aged 65 and over interviewed in 2002 died within the following six-years. Two types of activities are examined: customary physical activities, such as such as doing housework and gardening, and social activities, such as playing cards and attending organized activities. The Cox model is applied to analyze the hazards of mortality. Both physical and social activities are found to reduce the hazards of mortality for the whole sample and both activities showed a negative interaction effect with age. As age increases, their beneficial effects decrease. These patterns are also evident in the sub-sample analysis by age and gender. Although many studies have shown the beneficial effect of engaging in activities for individuals’ well-being, as is well reported in the media, these results suggest a diminishing effect at old ages.


Mortality Customary activity Social activity Aged China 



The author thanks Dr. Sarah H. Matthews for her comments on this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards



Conflict of Interest

There is no Conflict of Interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Ethical Treatment of Experimental Subjects (Animal and Human)

In compliance. Secondary data analysis. This research reported herein did not involve any human or animal experimental subjects.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminology, Anthropology and SociologyCleveland State UniversityClevelandUSA

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