Hobby engagement and mental wellbeing among people aged 65 years and older in 16 countries
As the world’s aging population grows, it presents challenges to mental and social well-being. Many countries encourage people to engage in hobbies to improve their mental health, but it’s unclear if this approach works consistently worldwide. Researchers studied 16 nations and harmonized measures of hobby engagement and mental well-being across five longitudinal studies involving 93,263 participants. They found that having a hobby was associated with reduced depressive symptoms and higher self-reported health, happiness, and life satisfaction. These positive effects were similar across countries, with some variations based on macrolevel factors like life expectancy and national happiness levels. The study highlights the importance of promoting hobbies for healthy aging globally.
Mak, H.W., Noguchi, T., Bone, J.K. et al. Hobby engagement and mental wellbeing among people aged 65 years and older in 16 countries. Nat Med 29, 2233–2240 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-023-02506-1