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Prolong Mental Health by Participation

Maintaining mental health during the aging process is seen by many as the holy grail of health and well-being. New research finds that participation in community groups and organizations can maintain mental health even after physical health has deteriorated.

In particular, ongoing members of religious organizations showed higher levels of personal growth than those who were not. The research also found lesser hikes in depressive symptoms among men steadily involved in recreational associations, such as hobby or discussion groups.

Study authors, Emily Greenfield and Nadine Marks of the University of Wisconsin-Madison used survey data to track changes in respondents’ physical, psychological, and social functioning over a five-year period. Thus, they were able to observe whether or not those who developed physical impairments also experienced similar declines in mental health.

The research is published in the latest issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences (Vol. 62B, No. 1).

This study is noteworthy because it shows community participation — and the subsequent building of psychosocial resources — to be especially important in the face of aging-related challenges.

Support for the project was provided by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Aging.

Source: The Gerontological Society of America

Prolong Mental Health by Participation

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Prolong Mental Health by Participation. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 18, 2018, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
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