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Activity Diversity and Its Associations With Psychological Well-Being Across Adulthood



This study examined age-related cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between activity diversity and four dimensions of well-being: psychological well-being, depression, positive affect, and negative affect.


Activity diversity was defined as the breadth and evenness of participation in seven daily activities including paid work, time with children, doing chores, leisure, physical activities, formal volunteering, and giving informal help to others. Participants from the National Survey of Daily Experiences (N = 793, Mage = 46.71, SDag = 12.48) provided data during two 8-day measurement bursts approximately 10 years apart.


Older adults (age = 60-74 years) who engaged in more diverse activities reported higher psychological well-being than older adults who engaged in less diverse activities; an association not significant among middle-aged adults (age = 35-59 years), and in the opposite direction for younger individuals (age = 24-34 years). Longitudinally, increased activity diversity over 10 years was marginally associated with increases in positive affect. Compared with younger individuals who increased activity diversity, older adults who increased activity diversity reported smaller decreases in psychological well-being, greater increases in positive affect, and greater decreases in negative affect.


Our findings suggest that activity diversity may play an important role in older adults' concurrent well-being and also in their long-term longitudinal improvements of well-being.

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