Social Support, Physical Activity and Psychological Distress Among Community-Dwelling Older Ghanaians


Physical activity (PA) has often been linked with improved mental health outcomes among older people but the subject has received limited attention in sub-Saharan African context. This paper examines the moderating effect of social support (SS) on the association between PA and psychological distress (PD) among community-dwelling older persons in Ghana.


Individuals 50 years or older who participated in a 2016/2017 Aging, Health, Psychological Wellbeing and Health-seeking Behavior Study (AHPWHB) were included. PD outcome, measured by the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale was regressed on PA levels, SS and the interaction term.


Findings suggest that regular PA and higher levels of SS were associated with reduced PD outcomes after adjusting for theoretically relevant confounding variables. More importantly, the inclusion of the interaction term showed a significant negative relationship of regular PA with the PD outcome as SS levels increased.


Although regular PA potentially contributes to reducing PD among older persons, the relationship is even stronger for those embedded in a higher constellation of SS. Policy and practical interventions seeking to improve regular PA engagement such as old-age friendly environment and psychological resources for socially isolated older persons are warranted. […]

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Global Population Aging: Peril or Promise?

In academic and policy circles, aging is becoming a hot topic. The media is flush with stories on aging, and international groups are increasingly singling out aging for discussion and debate. The World Health Organization (WHO) has dedicated its annual World Health Day in 2012 to aging. The European Union has designated 2012 as the Year of Active Aging and Solidarity between Generations. The UN General Assembly held a High-Level Meeting in September 2011 on preventing and controlling non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – a threat to human health and the global economy […]

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Elder Abuse in Sub-Saharan Africa

Elder abuse has been increasingly recognized over the past ten years in many countries and progress has been made in both understanding and addressing the issue. This volume provides a much-needed international overview of the topic. Opening with an examination of what elder abuse is, Amanda Phelan sets it in a theoretical context and looks at assessment and approaches to the issue in residential and community care environments. The book then presents a range of country studies, which provide an overview of the context of elder abuse in the country and a discussion of related policies, legislation, research and practice. Countries covered include Ireland, United Kingdom, Spain, China, Australia, Kenya, Israel, Canada and the United States; with a regional chapter that looks at South America. A concluding chapter draws together cross-cultural comparisons and provides some guidance as to best practices. […]

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Resilience in the face of post-election violence in Kenya: The mediating role of social networks on wellbeing among older people in the Korogocho informal settlement, Nairobi*

Older people in slum settings are a vulnerable sub-group during crises, yet have received minimal attention in the development discourse. This paper examines the protective role of different types of social networks for older slum dwellers’ wellbeing during adversity by investigating the relationship between social networks, the Kenyan 2007/08 post-election violence, and dimensions of wellbeing namely self-rated health, life satisfaction and happiness amongst older people in the Korogocho slum, Nairobi.

The analyses are based on conditional change logistic regression models using data from a unique longitudinal survey of the health and wellbeing of older people. The results show that maintaining or increasing formal local networks reduced the detrimental effects of the post-election violence for older people’s wellbeing, whilst household environment and informal local and non-local networks did not influence the relationship. Consequently, the paper provides evidence that supporting inclusive community organisations which are accessible to older people can be valuable in promoting the resilience of this population group. […]

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