Aging Clinical and Experimental Research

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 169–180 | Cite as

The impact of leisure on mental health of Sardinian elderly from the ‘blue zone’: evidence for ageing well

  • Maria Chiara Fastame
  • Paul Kenneth Hitchcott
  • Maria Pietronilla Penna
Original Article



There has been scientific interest in the Sardinia population for a number of years and for a variety of reasons, including its extreme longevity. This is especially prevalent in the central-eastern region of the island, where a blue zone region has been precisely delineated.


The present study examines the influence of leisure activities on psychological well-being and depressive symptoms in elderly individuals living in the blue zone region of inner Sardinia.


Eighty-three participants were recruited according to strict inclusion criteria to ensure their cognitive and residency status. Individuals were assigned to either old (70–79 years) or very old (≥80 years) groups, and were administered a test battery to determine their socio-demographic and lifestyle characteristics, perceived physical health, and self-perceived well-being and depressive symptoms.


The primary findings indicate that participation in leisure activities positively influenced both self-perceived well-being and depressive symptoms. There was though, a differential impact on different sub-scales of well-being, and moreover, the overall pattern of results suggested primarily an influence on mood states and/or emotion regulation.


The emerging psychological pattern of results about elders from the Sardinian blue zone region provides insight for the promotion of successful ageing in late adulthood.


Successful ageing Depression Psychological well-being Leisure Sardinia 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The procedures followed in the study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1964 and its later amendments.

Informed consent

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


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universita degli Studi di CagliariCagliariItaly

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