Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour with Retirement in Maltese Civil Servants: A Dialectical Mixed-Method Study

Karl Spiteri, John Xerri de Caro, Kate Grafton, Bob Laventure, David R. Broom

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    (1) Background: Retirement is a life event that can influence physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviour (SB) and can be used as an opportunity to promote positive lifestyle choices. The aims of this study were to (a) to identify changes in PA and SB resulting from retirement and (b) to explore predictors of any changes in PA and SB following retirement in Maltese civil servants. (2) Methods: a hybrid mixed-method (MM) study, using first quantitative followed by qualitative methods, of civil servants aged ≥60 years, who were followed during their retirement transition for two years. A proportion of the research participants in the MM study retired while the others remained employed. Questionnaires and semi-structured interviews were used to collect data. (3) Results: there were no changes in total PA and sitting behaviour with retirement in Maltese civil servants. People who retired carried out more domestic PA compared to when they were in employment, which resulted in more moderate-intensity PA behaviour. People perceived that their sitting time increased with retirement in the qualitative interviews, but this was not observed in the quantitative data. Past PA behaviour was an important predictor of future PA behaviour, but not for SB. (4) Conclusions: A change in PA occurs with the retirement transition. However, the uptake of exercise is a personal choice that is dependent on previous experience. Increasing SB is perceived as part of the retirement plan but is not necessarily seen in the measured quantitative data.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number14598
    Number of pages29
    JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
    Issue number21
    Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2022

    Bibliographical note

    This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and
    conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (


    Funding Information:
    This research was partly funded by the ENDEAVOUR scholarship scheme—Group B—National funds—Malta (MEDE/1117/2017/43).


    • mixed methods
    • older adult
    • physical activity
    • retirement
    • sedentary behaviour

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pollution
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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