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Hobby engagement and mental wellbeing among people aged 65 years and older in 16 countries

Mak, Hei Wan; Noguchi, Taiji; Bone, Jessica K; Wels, Jacques; Gao, Qian; Kondo, Katsunori; Saito, Tami; (2023) Hobby engagement and mental wellbeing among people aged 65 years and older in 16 countries. Nature Medicine 10.1038/s41591-023-02506-1. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Growing aging populations pose a threat to global health because of the social and psychological challenges they experience. To mitigate this, many countries promote hobby engagement to support and improve mental health. Yet, it remains unclear whether there is consistency in benefits across different national settings. We harmonized measures of hobby engagement and multiple aspects of mental wellbeing across 16 nations represented in five longitudinal studies (N = 93,263). Prevalence of hobby engagement varied substantially across countries, from 51.0% of Spanish respondents to 96.0% of Danish respondents. Fixed effects models and multinational meta-analyses were applied to compare the longitudinal associations between hobbies and mental wellbeing. Independent of confounders, having a hobby was associated with fewer depressive symptoms (pooled coefficient = −0.10; 95% confidence intervals (CI) = −0.13, −0.07), and higher levels of self-reported health (pooled coefficient = 0.06; 95% CI = 0.03, 0.08), happiness (pooled coefficient = 0.09; 95% CI = 0.06, 0.13) and life satisfaction (pooled coefficient = 0.10; 95% CI = 0.08, 0.12). Further analyses suggested a temporal relationship. The strength of these associations, and prevalence of hobby engagement, were correlated with macrolevel factors such as life expectancy and national happiness levels but overall, little variance in findings was explained by country-level factors (<9%). Given the relative universality of findings, ensuring equality in hobby engagement within and between countries should be a priority for promoting healthy aging.

Type: Article
Title: Hobby engagement and mental wellbeing among people aged 65 years and older in 16 countries
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41591-023-02506-1
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-023-02506-1
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10176550
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