Comparison study between the motives for and barriers to perform pleasurable activities in the daily life of the Dutch and Italian elderly populations


The percentage of population aged above 65 has continuously increased in the last decades. In the Netherlands it is expected that this age group will represent almost 25% of the total population by 2030 (CBS, 2012). As a result, the promotion of Active Ageing has received increasing interest in healthcare research. The World Health Organization defines Active Ageing as “the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age”. It is therefore important to understand which factors influence the well-being of the elderly population in the daily life.

Literature suggests a strong relationship between participation in leisure activities and subjective well-being in older adults (Simone & Haas 2013). Participation in leisure activities has also shown positive results in the prevention of mental illnesses (e.g. Santos et al. 2013) and in the prevention of becoming ill (Veenhoven, 2008). Also, these activities contribute to the overall happiness and research suggests that happiness is related to increased longevity and decreased mortality rates.

This assignment is integrated in the PERSSILAA project. PERSSILAA is a European project that develops and validates a new service model, to screen for and prevent frailty in community dwelling older adults. Eight partners from five countries combine their expertise to develop service modules for screening, monitoring and training of nutrition, physical and cognitive functions. The services are provided through an online platform under development.

Aim & Study


Roessingh Research and Development, Enschede, The Netherlands

Relevant studies:

Health Science, Health Psychology, BMT

Duration project:

6-8 months


Miriam Cabrita

Roessingh Research and Development

Monique Tabak

Roessingh Research and Development

We are looking for a motivated student to research on the motivators and barriers of pleasurable activities in the elderly population. After getting familiar with the topics of Positive Psychology and Active Ageing, the student must design a survey to elicit the main reasons that lead older adults to do / not do pleasurable activities. The survey will be deployed in the Netherlands and Italy. The student must perform the statistical analysis of the data and report the findings.