The activity patterns of older adults: A cross-sectional study in six European countries

Joos Droogleever Fortuijn, Marieke van der Meer, Vanessa Burholt, Dieter Ferring, Sabrina Quattrini, Ingalill Rahm Hallberg, Germain Weber, G. Clare Wenger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports on a cross-national study of the activity patterns of 50-90 year old adults in six European countries, namely Austria, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. It analyses patterns of activity involvement and the resulting expression of satisfaction. Involvement and satisfaction levels are in turn measured against a number of personal characteristics. The paper challenges the idea of older adults as inactive and unproductive agents and stresses the productive, non-paid contribution of older adults to local economies. The analysis highlights the similarities and differences between the six countries. In general, more similarities than differences are identified. Differences are found with respect to the dimensions of activity involvement and the co-variations between activity involvement and satisfaction with personal characteristics. These differences are interpreted in terms of differences in the cultural and political-institutional context between the six countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-369
Number of pages17
JournalPopulation, Space and Place
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006


  • Ageing
  • Europe
  • Leisure activities
  • Productive activities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Demography


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