As the global population ages rapidly, from a positive aging view, promoting later life through sport participation has been recognized as strategies for maintaining and boosting the social and psychological health of older people. To better understand the role of sport participation among older adults, the primary purpose of the study was to explore the mediating role of social capital on the relationship between sport participation and happiness among older adults. A convenience sample of 208 pickleball participants aged from 50 to 83 years completed a survey. A level of pickleball participation was measured using Serious Leisure Inventory, social capital was measured by cognitive (i.e., feelings of trust and safety) and structural (i.e., community participation, neighborhood connections) social capital, and happiness was measured by a single item scale of general feelings of happiness. After controlling socio-demographic characteristics, results showed that (a) pickleball participation was significantly and positively predicted by general happiness, (b) pickleball participation was significantly and positively predicted by all three elements of social capital, (c) two elements of social capital (i.e., feelings of trust and safety, neighborhood connections) had a significant and positive mediating role on the relationship between pickleball participation and general happiness. We suggest that sport-based social capital intervention can add significant value to older adults’ general happiness for successful aging.
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)