Exploring the Relationship of Leisure Travel with Loneliness, Depression, and Cognitive Function in Older Adults

TitleExploring the Relationship of Leisure Travel with Loneliness, Depression, and Cognitive Function in Older Adults
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2024
AuthorsCole, S, Hua, C, Peng, S, Wang, W
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume21
Pagination498
ISSN Number1660-4601
KeywordsAging, Cognition, depression, Health and Retirement Study, leisure travel, Loneliness
Abstract

Loneliness, depression, and cognitive decline are pressing concerns among older adults. This study examines the association between leisure travel participation and these health outcomes in older adults, aiming to provide further evidence of the benefits of leisure travel. Using nationally representative historical data from the 2006 household survey of the Health and Retirement Study, this study conducted a series of regression analyses to investigate the relationship between traveling and the three health outcomes, adjusting for age, sex, race, marital status, education, total wealth, annual income, and difficulty with daily activities. The results reveal that travel patterns in terms of distance are significantly associated with loneliness, depression, and cognitive function. Long-distance travel is positively related to higher cognitive function and a reduction in depressive symptoms, along with lower levels of loneliness, reinforcing the notion that leisure travel can potentially act as a catalyst for improved cognitive and mental health by offering opportunities for enhancing social connections and forming new relationships. The findings on the relationships between participation in leisure travel and mental and cognitive health contribute to the body of evidence supporting the therapeutic value of leisure travel in promoting healthy aging and enhancing the overall well-being in older adults.

DOI10.3390/ijerph21040498
Citation Keyijerph21040498