The impact of leisure on mental health of Sardinian elderly from the ‘blue zone’: evidence for ageing well
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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.
KeywordsSuccessful ageing Depression Psychological well-being Leisure Sardinia
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.
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.
Written informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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