Active Ageing in Spain: Leisure, Community Participation and Quality of Life

Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)


As a multidimensional concept, active ageing is placed in relation to the most important domains of quality of later life, self-assessed by the individuals. It is well recognized in international research to have positive effects on personal wellbeing. From the point of view of an active living at an individual and ageing contexts, this paper aimed at analysing the profile of older-adults in relationship to their involvement in leisure and social and community participation activities, as factors that promote an active ageing to enhance quality of later life.

The data come from the ELES Pilot Study database, a representative sample of 1747 community-dwelling adults aged 50 years and over in Spain. Bivariate and multivariate statistical techniques were applied. Statistical analysis revealed a bipolar active living during the ageing process, consisting of a main group of older-adults with low overall level of performing activities and three different clusters of more active people. Factors associated with active ageing behaviour are related to socio-demographic (relationship with the activity status, level of education) and social issues (frequency of face-to-face contact with social networks), as well as functioning capacity and accessibility to cultural, sports and recreational facilities. Satisfaction with leisure time and perception of problems in the neighbourhood completed the analysis on active ageing performance. Results will help in the design of initiatives to foster personal empowerment in social contexts.


Active ageing Leisure activities Social and community participation Older-adults Determining factors Spain 



The Ageing in Spain Longitudinal Study, Pilot Survey (ELES-PS), has been carried out by the Research Unit on Ageing Process (Research Group on Ageing, GIE-CSIC, and the Matia Instituto Gerontologico) and financed by the “Acciones Complementarias 2009” Programme of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (CSO2009-06637-E/SOCI; CSO2009-06638-E/SOCI; CSO2009-08645-E/SOCI), the SAIOTEK 2009 Programme of the Basque Government, and the “Obra Social Caja Madrid” Foundation. The data analysis and writing of this paper has been financed by: (i) the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitivity (“Proyectos de Investigación Fundamental No Orientada 2011”, Ref. CSO2011-30210-C02-01, PI. Dr. V Rodriguez-Rodriguez); (ii) Thematic network on” Envejecer Activamente en Iberoamérica: una interpretación de las formas de envejecer [Active Ageing in Ibero-America: an interpretation] (ENACTIBE)”. Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, ref. CSO2015-71193-REDT; 2016-2017; PI. V. Rodríguez-Rodríguez); (iii) Project “La construcción del Envejecimiento Activo en España: Autovaloración, Determinantes y Expectativas de Calidad de Vida [Building the Active Ageing in Spain: self-assessment, determinants and quality of life expectations] (ENVACES)” (Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad/FEDER/UE, ref. CSO2015-64115-R; 2016-2018; PI. F Rojo-Pérez); (iv) Programme “Envejecimiento Activo, Calidad de Vida y Género [Active Ageing, Quality of Life and Gender] (ENCAGE-CM)” (Comunidad de Madrid y Fondo Social Europeo; ref. S2015/HUM-3367; 2016-2018; Coord. G. Fernández-Mayoralas).


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Group on Ageing (GIE), Institute of Economics, Geography and Demography (IEGD)Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)MadridSpain

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