Study of the leisure influence on attitude for leisure and mental health in a sample of portuguese seniors

  • Pedro Belo Universidad de Valencia
  • Ricardo Pocinho Universidad de Valencia
  • Esperanza Navarro-Pardo Universidad de Valencia


Increased human longevity has been attributed to technological and medical advances, as well as improved hygiene and nutritional conditions, access to health care, changes in eating habits and cognitive development strategies (Osório, 2007). The present study examined the influence of leisure actions in the psychological well-being, leisure attitude and distress of seniors. The sample consisted of 403 participants (37,2% male; 62,8% female). Concerning the perception of health condition, 82,6% subjects were considered independent and 17,4% participants were considered dependent. The instruments used were the MHI (Ribeiro, 2001) and the LAS (Freire & Fonte, 2007). Main results exposed that participants in leisure activities presented high level of well-being and attitude for leisure (p<0,05). Seniors that present big levels of distress indicated an intention to participate in activities of leisure that aided to decrease that symptom. Results showed that seniors health perception influenced the practice of a leisure activity [Hotelling’s Trace = 0,077; F (3; 341) = 8,733; p = 0,00]. The results found helped to recognize the necessity, and importance, of leisure activities between seniors.

Keywords: well-being; mental health; leisure; elderly.