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Short-term buffers, but long-term suffers? Differential effects of negative self-perceptions of aging following serious health events

Citation

Wolff, Jk and Schuz, B and Ziegelmann, JP and Warner, LM and Wurm, S, Short-term buffers, but long-term suffers? Differential effects of negative self-perceptions of aging following serious health events, Journals of Gerontology. Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 72, (3) pp. 408-414. ISSN 1079-5014 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 The Author

DOI: doi:10.1093/geronb/gbv058

Abstract

Objectives: Large longitudinal studies show that negative self-perceptions of aging can be detrimental for health outcomes. However, negative self-perceptions of aging (i.e., associating aging with physical losses) might be adaptive because they prepare individuals for serious health events (SHEs), resulting in short-term positive effects as opposed to long-term negative effects on well-being and health.

Method: Longitudinal data from 309 older adults (aged 65 and older) were analyzed. Short-term (6 months) and long-term (2.5 years) effects after a SHE of negative self-perceptions of aging on functional limitations (FLs) and negative affect (NA) were investigated.

Results: Results show that in the case of a SHE, individuals with more negative self-perceptions of aging reported less NA after 6 months but more FLs after 2.5 years. In contrast, individuals with less negative self-perceptions of aging reported more NA in the short-run but less FLs later on.

Discussion: People with more negative self-perceptions of aging may be mentally prepared for health events or may have habituated to health declines. Individuals with more positive self-perceptions, in contrast, may invest a lot in coping efforts immediately after the health event. Similarities to research on unrealistic optimism are discussed.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:self-perceptions of aging, functional health, physical functioning, negative affect, older adults
Research Division:Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Research Group:Psychology
Research Field:Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health)
Objective Field:Behaviour and Health
Author:Schuz, B (Dr Benjamin Schuez)
ID Code:103376
Year Published:2017 (online first 2015)
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2015-10-07
Last Modified:2017-11-03
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