Leisure, functional disability and depression among older Chinese living in residential care homes

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-730
Journal / PublicationAging and Mental Health
Issue number8
Online published30 Sep 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Objectives: Previous research has rarely examined the intervening and buffering effects of leisure on the relationship between age-related stress and health among institutionalized elders, especially in the Chinese context. This study thus examines the extent to which participation in leisure activities mediates and moderates the impact of functional disability on depression among older adults living in residential care homes in China.Method: A total of 1429 participants (858 men) aged over 60 living in residential care homes, of which 46.1% experienced depression using a cut-off score ≥ 5 on the 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale, were selected from a national survey across China by using the probability proportional to size sampling method.Results: The findings showed that depression was positively predicted by functional disability and negatively predicted by participation in leisure activities. The results of the mediation analysis showed that participation in leisure activities partially mediated the relationship between functional disability and depression. Functional disability predicted depression both directly and indirectly through its negative influence on participation in leisure activities. Participation in leisure activities also significantly buffered the relationship between functional disability and depression such that the impact of functional disability was weaker for those who participated in leisure activities more frequently.Conclusion: These results provide support for the mediating and moderating roles of leisure in the stress-health relationship among institutionalized elders. To enhance residents psychological health, residential care homes are recommended to organize more leisure activities.

Research Area(s)

  • leisure activities, mediation, moderation

Citation Format(s)