A positive association has been known to exist between social activity engagements and fewer insomnia symptoms in later life. However, little is known about which social activities are associated with insomnia symptoms. Investigating mediating factors in this relationship may contribute to developing effective strategies for the reduction of sleep complaints in older adults. This study aimed to examine the mediating role of loneliness on the relationship between engagement in different social activities and insomnia symptoms.
We used secondary data from the 2018 Health and Retirement Study. The study sample included 3236 older adults who responded to a survey on social activity engagement, insomnia symptoms, and loneliness. After adjusting for covariates, simple mediation analyses were performed with bootstrapping to identify the mediating role.
Among the several types of social activities, higher levels of engagement in educational courses and community arts group had a significant and direct relationship with fewer insomnia symptoms in older adults. Mediation analyses confirmed the mediating role of loneliness in the relationship between these specific social activity engagements and insomnia symptoms.
These findings provide new evidence for associations among social activity, loneliness, and insomnia symptoms in older adults.