Physical activity enhances long-term quality of life in older adults: Efficacy, esteem, and affective influences

Steriani Elavsky, Edward McAuley, Robert W. Motl, James F. Konopack, David X. Marquez, Liang Hu, Gerald J. Jerome, Ed Diener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Physical activity has been effective in enhancing quality of life (QOL) of older adults over relatively short periods of time. However, little is known about the long-term effects of physical activity and even less about the possible mediators of this relationship. Purpose: We examined the mediating effects of psychological variables on the relationship between physical activity and global QOL (satisfaction with life) in older adults over a 4-year period. Methods: Participants (N = 174, M age = 66.7 years) completed a battery of psychosocial measures at 1 and 5 years following enrollment in a 6-month randomized controlled exercise trial. Results: Panel analysis conducted within a covariance modeling framework indicated that physical activity was related to self-efficacy, physical self-esteem, and positive affect at 1 year, and in turn, greater levels of self-efficacy and positive affect were associated with higher levels of QOL. Analyses indicated that changes in physical activity over the 4-year period were related to increases in physical self-esteem and positive affect, but only positive affect directly influenced improvements in QOL. Conclusions: The findings lend support to the position that physical activity effects on QOL are in part mediated by intermediate psychological outcomes and that physical activity can have long-term effects on well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-145
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Physical activity enhances long-term quality of life in older adults: Efficacy, esteem, and affective influences'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this