The paradox of leisure in later life

Galit Nimrod, Amit Shrira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Objective. Numerous studies have shown that involvement in leisure activity has a significant impact on older adults' physical, psychological, social, and spiritual well-being. This study explores whether the association between leisure involvement and well-being in later life changes over time. Method. Data were drawn from the first 4 waves of the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). Growth curve models were applied to examine whether leisure moderated change in quality of life (QoL) over time among 7,875 retirees aged 60 and older. Results. Findings indicated that the association between leisure and QoL increased with time, as nonactive respondents displayed a decline in QoL over time, whereas those with high levels of leisure involvement showed an increase. Findings remained significant after controlling for sociodemographics, health, and cognitive functioning. Discussion. Results indicated that the significance of leisure to well-being increases throughout the later life course, and that leisure may act as a resource for resilience in old age. They also pointed out a paradoxical situation in which the older seniors, who may benefit from leisure involvement more than their younger peers, are precisely the ones who face the greater number of constraints to beneficial use of leisure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-111
Number of pages6
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Growth curve model
  • Old age
  • Quality of life
  • Recreation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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