The association of resilience and physical activity in older adults: cross-sectional analyses from the NICOLA study

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Aim: As more of the world’s population are living longer, supporting the mental and physical health of older adults is becoming increasingly important in public health. Resilience is a dynamic process encompassing positive adaptation in the face of adverse experiences that would otherwise lead to poor outcomes. The aim of the study is to explore the association between physical activity and resilience in older adults. 

Subject and methods: The data used in this study was taken from the results of the Self Completed Questionnaires and Computer Assisted Personal Interviews from the Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Ageing. A secondary analysis was conducted on a sample of 4040 participants to examine the association between resilience (Brief Resilience Scale) and on moderate/vigorous physical activity (International Physical Activity Questionnaire – Short Form) through chi-square and Mann–Whitney U tests and an ordinal regression being conducted. 

Results: Data was included for 4040 participants, of whom 90% did not meet the recommended moderate physical activity guidelines. The findings of this study indicated that higher resilience levels are associated with higher levels of moderate and vigorous physical activity levels. 

Conclusion: Worryingly, a large percentage of the older adult population are not sufficiently active and this is something that needs to be addressed. The findings suggest that with these low levels of physical activity, interventions should be created to target this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Public Health
Early online date15 May 2024
Publication statusPublished online - 15 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.

Data Access Statement

The data from the Northern Ireland Cohort for Longitudinal Ageing (NICOLA) are available but restrictions apply to the dataset. Data access is available by request through the NICOLA Data Access Committee.


  • Cross-sectional
  • Northern Ireland
  • Older adults
  • Physical activity
  • Resilience


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