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01.07.2016 | Originalien | Ausgabe 5/2016

Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie 5/2016

Outdoor motivation moderates the effects of accessibility on mobility in old age

Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie > Ausgabe 5/2016
M.Sc. Stefan T. Kamin, Dipl.-Psych. Anja Beyer, Prof. Dr. Frieder R. Lang



Mobility plays a major role in healthy aging and social participation. This study explored whether accessibility problems in the housing environment are negatively associated with mobility in old age and whether this association is moderated by differences in an individual's preference for spending time outside the home (outdoor motivation).

Material and methods

This article reports the results of a research project on mobility in old age. The project included a survey study of 120 community-dwelling older adults between 59 and 92 years of age (mean = 71.7 years, SD = 7.3 years) living in the metropolitan region of Nuremberg, Germany. Objective assessments were conducted in the participants' housing environment to evaluate the magnitude of accessibility problems.


Accessibility problems were negatively associated with mobility. Interaction analyses suggested a buffering effect of outdoor motivation on this association, i.e. participants who reported a preference for spending time outside the home had a higher mobility in the face of accessibility problems as compared with those who preferred staying at home.


Outdoor motivation may have protective effects for older adults when accessibility problems challenge mobility. These findings contribute to improving the understanding of how and under what circumstances older adults stay mobile and active in everyday life. Considering interindividual differences in outdoor motivation may binterventions and public health programs that are aimed at enhancing mobility and social participation in old age.

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