The mediation effect of political interest on the connection between social trust and wellbeing among older adults

Previous research has established significant positive associations between social trust and wellbeing among older adults. This study aimed to obtain a deeper understanding of the relationship between different sources of social trust and wellbeing by examining the mediational role of political interest. A sample of 4,406 Italian residents aged 65 years and over was extracted from a national cross-sectional survey during 2013 in Italy, representative of the non-institutionalised population. Measures included trust in people, trust in institutions, political interest, life satisfaction and self-perceived health. Mediation path analysis and structural equation modelling were used to test the mediation effects of political interest on the relationship between trust in people and trust in institutions with life satisfaction and self-perceived health. Associations between trust in people, life satisfaction and self-perceived health, and between trust in institutions and life satisfaction were partially mediated by political interest, while the association between trust in institutions and self-perceived health was fully mediated by political interest. Having high levels of political interest may thus enhance the relationship between social trust and wellbeing among older adults. These results suggest that interventions to enhance wellbeing in older adults may benefit from examining individuals’ levels of political interest.