Sedentary behaviors and psychological outcomes among older adults: a systematic review

  • André Ramalho Sport, Health & Exercise Reseach Unit (SHERU) - Instituto Politécnico de Castelo Branco
  • João Petrica Sport, Health & Exercise Reseach Unit (SHERU) - Instituto Politécnico de Castelo Branco
  • António Rosado Faculdade de Motricidade Humana. Universidade de Lisboa


This systematic review aimed to synthesize the scientific evidence about the relationship between sedentary behaviours and various psychological outcomes in older adults. The study searches were conducted in the following databases: PubMed, PsycINFO, ISI Web of Knowledge and ScienceDirect. We selected 15 observational quantitative studies according to specific eligibility criteria. The data extraction was performed independently by different authors, including the evaluation of the risk of bias of the studies and the classification of the force of evidence. The results showed a tendency of showing no associations between the sedentary behaviours, the well-being and quality of life of the elderly. Concerning life satisfaction and perceived stress, it seems that active sedentary activities have positive effects on these indicators. Evidence has also suggested that some sedentary behaviours may help maintain some cognitive functions in the elderly population, namely in different types of memory. In other studies, it has been demonstrated a tendency that too much time in passive sedentary activities has been associated with depressive symptomatology. However, this review suggested that the evidence is not yet consistent in the relationship between the sedentary behaviours of the elderly and the indicators analysed, and more research is needed.

Review Article