Loneliness and life satisfaction explained by public-space use and mobility patterns

Lisanne Bergefurt (Corresponding author), Astrid Kemperman, Pauline van den Berg, Aloys Borgers, Peter van der Waerden, Gert Oosterhuis, Marco Hommel

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Abstract

Previous research has shown that personal, neighborhood, and mobility characteristics could influence life satisfaction and loneliness of people and that exposure to public spaces, such as green spaces, may also affect the extent to which people feel lonely or satisfied with life. However, previous studies mainly focused on one of these effects, resulting in a lack of knowledge about the simultaneous effects of these characteristics on loneliness and life satisfaction. This study therefore aims to gain insights into how public-space use mediates the relations between personal, neighborhood, and mobility characteristics on the one hand and loneliness and life satisfaction on the other hand. Relationships were analyzed using a path analysis approach, based on a sample of 200 residents of three neighborhoods of the Dutch city ‘s-Hertogenbosch. The results showed that the influence of frequency of public-space use on life satisfaction and loneliness is limited. The effects of personal, neighborhood, and mobility characteristics on frequency of use of public space and on loneliness and life satisfaction were found to be significant. Age and activities of daily living (ADL) are significantly related to each other, and ADL was found to influence recreational and passive space use and loneliness and life satisfaction. Policymakers should, therefore, mainly focus on creating neighborhoods that are highly walkable and accessible, where green spaces and public-transport facilities are present, to promote physical activity among all residents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4282
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume16
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019

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Keywords

  • Elderly
  • Life satisfaction
  • Loneliness
  • Mobility
  • Neighborhood
  • Path analysis
  • Public space

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