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Relationships Between Health Promoting Activities, Life Satisfaction, and Depressive Symptoms in Unemployed Individuals


Abstract. Background: Previous research has documented that unemployed individuals who engage in recreational activities, either alone or with others, experience higher levels of mental health and psychological well-being relative to those who do not engage in recreational activities. Aims: In this study, we examined whether engagement in health promoting activities, alone or with other family members, is associated with reduced levels of depression and enhanced levels of life satisfaction in unemployed individuals. Method: We employed a cross-sectional design in which we measured life satisfaction, depressive symptoms, consumption of healthy meals and engagement in physical activities in 203 unemployed individuals (male = 90, female = 113, age= 33.79, SD = 11.16). Results: Independent of age, gender, and partner employment status, hierarchical regression analyses revealed statistically significant effects for social forms of healthy eating (consumption of healthy meals with others) and solitary forms of physical activity (exercising alone) on depressive symptoms and life satisfaction. Limitations: The research design was cross-sectional using self-report questionnaires. The present study does not to explain why and how health promoting activities enhance well-being outcomes among the unemployed. Conclusions: These findings highlight the importance of measuring engagement in health promoting activities through separate constructs that capture engagement in social and solitary health promoting activities and suggest that unemployed individuals are likely to experience optimal levels of psychological well-being if they exercise alone and consume healthy meals with other family members.

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