Gender Differences in Longitudinal Trajectories of Change in Physical, Social, and Cognitive/Sedentary Leisure Activities

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Gender differences, Growth curve modeling, Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Aging

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Objective: We examined changes in participation in cognitive, social, and physical leisure activities across middle and older adulthood and tested moderation of trajectories of change in participation by gender.

Method: In all, 1,398 participants in the Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Aging (SATSA) completed a 7-item leisure activity questionnaire up to 4 times over 17 years. Mean baseline age was 64.9 years (range = 36–91); 59% were women. Factor analysis identified physical, social, and cognitive/sedentary leisure activity participation factors. Age-based latent growth curve models adjusted for marital status, gender, education, depressive symptoms, and physical health were used.

Results: Overall, results indicated stability in social activities, increase in cognitive/sedentary activities, and decrease in physical activities, as well as accelerated decline in all three types of activities after about the age of 70 years. Social activity remained mostly stable for women and declined for men. Women reported higher levels of cognitive/sedentary leisure activity across the study. Both men and women declined in physical leisure activity. Variance in leisure activities increased with age; men demonstrated more variance in social activities and women in physical activities.

Conclusions: Understanding change in leisure activities with age and by gender can have important implications for interventions and for use of leisure activity data in epidemiological research.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, v. 73, issue 8, p. 1491-1500