Active Aging and Health: An Exploration of Longitudinal Data for Four European Countries

Giorgio Di Gessa, King's College London
Emily Grundy, University of Cambridge
Anne Jamieson, Birkbeck University of London

‘Active ageing’ has achieved widespread currency, emphasising the connection between a broader range of activities than those normally associated with productivity and health. Using the first two waves of European and English Studies of Ageing (ELSA and SHARE), this paper investigated the longitudinal association between ‘engagement’ at baseline in various activities (paid work, formal activities such as volunteering, and informal activities such as care-giving) and self-rated health (SRH) and depressive symptoms at follow-up. Cohort participants were aged 50-69 in Denmark, France, Italy and England, selected to represent different welfare regimes. In all countries only respondents in paid work at baseline were more likely to increase their SRH and less likely to become depressed than those ‘inactive’. Findings also suggested that formal engagement was beneficial for health, though not significantly. This study supports the assumption that engaging with the wider society contributes to the maintenance of good SRH and non-depressive symptoms.

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Presented in Poster Session 1