Aging and Development

APHRC is the sole African research institution engaged in evidence generation about responding to the growing needs of more than […]

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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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