Cognitive status moderates the relationship between out-of-home behavior (OOHB), environmental mastery and affect

Markus Wettstein*, Hans Werner Wahl, Noam Shoval, Gail Auslander, Frank Oswald, Jeremia Heinik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Studies on the relationship between behavioral competence, such as the competence of exerting out-of-home behavior (OOHB), and well-being in older adults have rarely addressed cognitive status as a potentially moderating factor. We included 35 persons with early-stage dementia of the Alzheimer's type (DAT), 76 individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and 146 cognitively healthy (CH) study participants (grand mean age: M= 72.9 years; SD= 6.4 years). OOHB indicators were assessed based on a multi-method assessment strategy, using both GPS (global positioning system) tracking technology and structured self-reports. Environmental mastery and positive as well as negative affect served as well-being indicators and were assessed by established questionnaires. Three theoretically postulated OOHB dimensions of different complexity (out-of-home walking behavior, global out-of-home mobility, and out-of-home activities) were supported by confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). We also found in the DAT group that environmental mastery was substantially and positively related to less complex out-of-home walking behavior, which was not the case in MCI and CH individuals. In contrast, more complex out-of-home activities were associated with higher negative affect in the DAT as well as the MCI group, but not in CH persons. These findings point to the possibility that relationships between OOHB and well-being depend on the congruence between available cognitive resources and the complexity of the OOHB dimension considered.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)113-121
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the German Research Foundation from 2008 to 2011, based on a grant to Hans-Werner Wahl ( WA809/11-1 ). We have not entered into an agreement with the funding organization that has limited our ability to complete the research as planned and publish the results. Funding agents were not involved in the study design, data processing, data analysis, result presentation or interpretation, and the preparation and submission of this manuscript.


  • Dementia
  • Environmental mastery
  • MCI
  • Out-of-home behavior
  • Positive and negative affect


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