Social Activities, Loneliness and Life Satisfaction in Old Age: A Time Use Study.

Annalisa Donno , Università di Padova
Maria-Letizia Tanturri, Università di Padova
Silvia Meggiolaro, Università di Padova

The concept of actively ageing is strictly related to the notion of dealing with time: finding a new role in society means to replace structured time use routines with new ones, giving old people the chance to discover a renewed meaning of life. Research has shown that being active is an important determinant of life satisfaction (LS). Moreover, not only the level of activity seems to be important, but also its social dimension. In this study we use the 2015-2016 Italian Time Use Survey for understanding if (1) involvement in different activities – measured through daily minutes devoted to each activity – and (2) performing those activities alone/with other people is significantly associated to LS levels, with the hypothesis that impairment in social interactions and isolation are important sources of dissatisfaction in old age, while supportive relationships and intimacy may increase emotional strength and LS. We select a subsample of 12,247 individuals, aged more than 60 years. We use OLS regression models for studying the association between self-reported LS and the time spent in passive, active, and social pursuits. As literature suggests that the determinants of LS may differ by gender and living arrangements, we carry out separate analysis accordingly. Results show that being active is important for LS in old age. Our hypothesis has been confirmed: spending time in social activities is associated with LS, regardless the sex. At the same time, the proportion of daily activities spent with other people is relevant only for people not living alone.

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 Presented in Session 52. Mental Health of Older People