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<p>Although the literature supports the positive link between (a) social engagement and (b) psychological well-being and perceived health, it is still unclear whether social engagement is also related to objective health indicators. This study compares five clusters of participation in social activities during leisure time: (1) no social participation, (2) passive social participation (e.g., attending activities), and three levels (3a) low, (3b) average, and (3c) high active participation involving social engagement in group activities.</p> <p>Affiliates (N = 4988) of the Belgian Christian Mutuality reported their degree of social participation and consented that their annual health care data (number of medical appointments and medicines in Daily Day Dose – DDD) would be examined in relation to their responses concerning (a) perceived social integration (social support, loneliness, social relationships, social fusion), (b) psychological well-being (self-esteem, sense of meaning, Pemberton happiness scale), and (c) perceived health.</p> <p>Results confirmed the strong positive association between level of social participation, psychological well-being and perceived health. Furthermore, the higher was the level of social engagement, the less frequent were the contacts with medical practitioners and the lower was the overall use of medication. While passive participation suffices to feel better than no social involvement at all, respondents with active participation are those evidencing higher psychological well-being and lower health care needs.</p>
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