When motility and movement meet wellbeing

Check out our new CURHA (Contrasting Urban Environments and Healthy Ageing, FNR-IRSC-FRSQ project) paper on links between mobility and wellbeing among older adults in Luxembourg ! We used the concept of motility, estimated in a structural equation model, in order to disentangle the complex relationships between locations, geographic environments and daily mobility related to wellbeing.

https://doi.org/10.1177/0042098019852033

Abstract

Purpose

Daily mobility is recognised as playing a key role in wellbeing, as it is linked to the ability to conduct activities and participate in society, maintain physical independence, promote social relations, and avoid social exclusion. We consider the notion of daily mobility by distinguishing two aspects: movement per se and motility as the mobility potential (Kaufmann et al., 2004), and we investigate theoretically and empirically how mobility influences wellbeing in the specific case of 471 older adults in Luxembourg, while controlling for micro-environmental conditions.

Conceptual framework

Results

Both second-order latent variables (motility and wellbeing) are non-significant. The links between motility components and wellbeing: Only competences are directly linked to both eudaimonic wellbeing (EWB) and hedonic wellbeing (HWB), appropriation is directly linked to EWB, while access has no direct link to wellbeing. There is an impact of access on EWB, but mediated through appropriation and time movement. Of the three components of motility, only access embeds the geographical context. The links between movement and wellbeing: The size of the activity space – and to a lesser extent, daily travel time – are negatively correlated with EWB.

Conclusion

Changing the local physical features of cities and neighborhoods – typically by increasing access – is important for enhancing movement and wellbeing. Through planning actions that improve access, policy makers may better help elderly people to blossom and project themselves in their environment. More generally, shifting the focus from travel satisfaction (and largely hedonic wellbeing) to the eudaimonic parts of wellbeing seems key to future planning actions.

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