For the first purpose a theoretical study was carried out, while empirical investigations were conducted to achieve the second and the third purpose. Paper I identifies three dimensions that can be used to clarify key differences between conceptualisations of wellbeing in economics, psychology, sociology, health research, human geography, and gerontology: - Objective and subjective approaches - Hedonic and eudaimonic approaches - Universalist and contextualist approaches The literature reveals multiple approaches to the study of human wellbeing and quality of life.
Paper I discusses ten of these and explains how they relate to the introduced dimensions of wellbeing.
With ageing, functional capacities are often reduced; walking and cycling become more demanding and travelling by public transport and driving a car more challenging.
This reduced capacity for mobility is likely to adversely affect wellbeing in later life. This trend will present a range of challenges for many policy fields, including transport.
- Preferences are not invariant, they change and shift over time, in relation to both context and perceived level of resources that can be mobilized to enact certain behaviours.
- Although constraints can account for most of the variations in needs fulfilment, in addition to preferences for out-of-home activity participation, age alone has a significant effect on the extent of outof-home activity participation, suggesting that some older people see withdrawal from social activity and participation as a natural part of ageing.Discussions of wellbeing qua concept are often short (if present at all) and frequently lack theoretical depth.The second conclusion is that most empirical studies on mobility and wellbeing in later life belong to the subjective approach.Barriers for participating in desired activities relate not only to the transport infrastructure/supply, but also to the destination end of trips (such as parking facilities, timing of an activity, entrance barriers to buildings).These findings suggest that the whole journey, including characteristics of activities and their facilities should be accounted for in order to understand older people’s opportunities for mobility.Within this framework, mobility in old age is understood as the result of ‘opportunities for mobility’ – defined as the interplay between an individual’s resources and abilities and the contextual conditions for mobility – and his or her individual desires and preferences for mobility.A mixed methods approach was used to explore potential explanations for needs fulfilment, as mediated through mobility and to explore how opportunities for mobility, mobility and needs fulfilment is shaped and mediated in old age.When it comes to desires and preferences, older people are just as different as the rest of the population.Therefore, the extent to which older persons will experience their needs being met through out-of-home activity participation will vary.As out-of-home activity participation induces travel between different geographical locations, a theoretical framework was developed to understand mobility, inspired Elster’s understanding of action (Elster, 1989).This framework assumes a dialectical relationship between agency and structure, in line with scholars such as Berger and Luckman (1966) and Giddens (1984).