Participation in social leisure activities may benefit mental health particularly among individuals that lack social connectedness at work or school
Mental Health and Social Inclusion
Article publication date: 29 July 2021
Issue publication date: 16 November 2021
Workplace and study environments generally provide opportunities for social connectedness, however, not all individuals in such settings are equally well connected. It is possible that potential mental health benefits of participation in social leisure activities may be greater for individuals that lack social connectedness through a workplace or study environment. This study aims to examine if the association between social leisure activities and mental health is moderated by the degree of social connectedness at work/school.
Data stem from 2,406 adults (age range 16-64 years old) from The Danish Mental Health and Well-Being Survey 2016. Validated scales were used to measure mental well-being and depression/anxiety symptoms. Multivariable linear regression analyses were conducted.
Participation in social leisure activities (i.e. participation in community/social groups such as a sports association, art club, book club, running group, card game club, cultural or political group) was positively associated with mental well-being and negatively associated with depression/anxiety symptoms. The associations were stronger among individuals feeling less socially connected at work/school and strongest among individuals that were unemployed or not enrolled in education.
Mental health promotion strategies may focus on promoting social leisure activities especially among unemployed or otherwise socially isolated groups, as well as among individuals that are not well connected at their workplace or school. Workplaces and schools may also monitor employee/student social connectedness and potentially intervene accordingly.
None declared.Ethics: This study is a secondary data analysis with no human subject issues. An ethics statement is included in the paper.Data availability: We do not have permission to share data.Funding: Nordea-Fonden.Conflict of interest: No conflicts of interest declared. No support from any organization for the submitted work; no financial relationships with any organizations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous three years, no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.Contributor statement: All authors have contributed to the work submitted.Transparency declaration: The manuscript is an honest, accurate and transparent account of the study being reported. No important aspects of the study have been omitted. Any discrepancies from the study as planned (and, if relevant, registered) have been explained.
Nielsen, L., Hinrichsen, C., Madsen, K.R., Nelausen, M.K., Meilstrup, C., Koyanagi, A., Koushede, V. and Santini, Z.I. (2021), "Participation in social leisure activities may benefit mental health particularly among individuals that lack social connectedness at work or school", Mental Health and Social Inclusion, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 341-351. https://doi.org/10.1108/MHSI-06-2021-0026
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