Journal of Community Psychology

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The association between leisure time physical activity and happiness: Testing the indirect role of health perception

Abstract Aims Research supports the influence of leisure time physical activity (LTPA) on well‐being; however, little is known about the mechanisms that drive the relationship. The aim of this study was to investigate the indirect influence of health perception on the association between neighborhood LTPA and happiness. Methods Telephone interviews were conducted using random digit dialing among a sample of adult residents aged 18+ (n = 570) to gather information about neighborhood LTPA behaviors, perceptions of health and happiness, and sociodemographics. Results Results of a structural equation modeling analysis indicated that health had a small significant indirect influence on the relationship between LTPA and happiness. Conclusion Focusing on perceptions offers a holistic conceptualization of how behavior impacts happiness and may offer important insights into how the experience of engaging in LTPA contributes to the subjective evaluation of personal happiness through perceived health.

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