Authors: Timothée Cuignet, Camille Perchoux, Geoffrey Caruso, Olivier Klein, Sylvain Klein, Basile Chaix, Yan Kestens, Philippe Gerber
Published: July, 2019

Daily mobility has been shown to contribute to the wellbeing of older adults, as it promotes healthy and independent living. However, very little is known about how the complex relationships between locations, geographic environments and daily mobility relate to wellbeing. In the current paper, we rely on the concept of ‘motility’– defined as potential mobility– and the concept of ‘movement’– defined as actual mobility– to take a step forwards in disentangling the relationship between mobility and wellbeing. We further examine how both motility and movement relate to two complementary definitions of wellbeing: hedonic wellbeing as a measurement of happiness, and eudaimonic wellbeing as the actualisation of an individual’s human potential. To investigate this relationship, we draw up a conceptual framework stressing pathways linking mobility to wellbeing, which we empirically test using structural equation modelling on a stratified sample of 470 older adults. We first quantitatively confirm that motility is defined by access, competences, appropriation and attitudes to modes of transportation. We then observe that motility has direct effects on eudaimonic wellbeing and, to a lesser extent, on hedonic wellbeing. Part of the motility effects on wellbeing are mediated by movement. Separating mobility into motility and movement stresses the independent and complementary role that potential and realised mobility play in shaping older adults’ wellbeing.

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