Self-perceptions of aging in middle-aged and older adults: A longitudinal study

Seojung Jung, Fordham University


This study explored the role of self-perceptions of aging (SPA) in relation to its antecedents and consequences in middle-aged and older adults. The present study’s goals were (a) to examine overall developmental trajectories of multidimensional SPAs over a 15-year period, (b) to examine what predict between-person variability in the level and change of SPAs, (c) to examine the effect of multidimensional SPA on mortality risk (d) to investigate the longitudinal cross-lagged relationships between multidimensional SPAs and cognitive functioning, and (e) to investigate the cross-lagged relationships between multidimensional SPAs and activity engagement. Data were drawn from the longitudinal sample of the German Ageing Survey (DEAS). The baseline sample from 1996 was used and the longitudinal data of the sample across four waves, 1996, 2002, 2008, and 2011, covering a 15-year period. Multidimensional SPA was assessed with the Personal Experience of Aging Scale, consisting of three subfacets, physical decline social loss, and continuous growth. The results showed that among three dimensions of SPA, social loss and continuous growth dimensions showed the overall declining trajectories toward more negative views, while the physical decline domain showed no significant developmental change. Also, participants with poor resources, such as poor health and poor social resources, in general were more likely to have negative SPA across all three dimensions. The findings showed that continuous growth had the significant effect on mortality risk among three dimensions of SPA. The current study also revealed that there are at least partial cross-lagged relationships between SPAs and cognitive functioning, and the relationships between SPAs and activity engagement. The study demonstrates the usefulness of multidimensional understanding of SPA and recognizes the critical role of SPA as a dynamic psychological process for promoting positive aging in middle-aged and old age.

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Recommended Citation

Jung, Seojung, "Self-perceptions of aging in middle-aged and older adults: A longitudinal study" (2016). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10182803.