Leisure activity moderates the relationship between living alone and mental health among Japanese older adults

Yuko Yoshida, Hajime Iwasa, Yoshiko Ishioka, Yoshimi Suzukamo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: As living alone is associated with poor mental health, seeking a moderating factor in this relationship may help enhance quality of life of older people living alone. Therefore, this study examined the moderating effect of leisure activity on the relationship between living alone and mental health in older people. Methods: This study employed a cross-sectional analysis of questionnaire data. Research was conducted in a metropolitan Tokyo ward from September to October 2017. Participants were 314 community-dwelling Japanese individuals (158 women, 156 men) aged 70–84 years (mean ± SD, 77.7 ± 4.4). We analyzed mental health using the Japanese version of the World Health Organization-Five Well-Being Index as the outcome variable, and the 11 items of the Leisure Activity Scale and living arrangements as explanatory variables. Multivariate analyses were used to examine effects of leisure activity on living arrangements and mental health. Results: The proportion of people living alone was 22.9% (N = 72), and the mental health score was mean ± SD, 14.2 ± 7.2. Multiple regression analysis showed that subjective economic status (β = −0.177), instrumental activities of daily living (β = 0.167), living arrangements (β = −0.142) and leisure activity (β = 0.481) were associated with mental health. The interaction effect between living arrangements and leisure activity on mental health was significant (β = 0.112). Conclusions: Our findings show that leisure activity moderates poor mental health in older adults living alone. Accordingly, interventions should encourage older adults living alone to engage in leisure activity to improve their mental health. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2021; 21: 421–425.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-425
Number of pages5
JournalGeriatrics and Gerontology International
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021 May


  • community-dwelling older people
  • leisure activity
  • living alone
  • mental health
  • social isolation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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