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Age or illness To what do older people attribute symptoms and does this affect functional health?


Wurm, S and Schuez, BEC and Ziegelmann, J and Warner, L, Age or illness - To what do older people attribute symptoms and does this affect functional health?, Psychology & Helath, 1 - 4 September 2010, Cluj-Napoca. Romania, pp. 99. ISSN 0887-0446 (2010) [Conference Extract]


Objectives: Older people with chronic illnesses experience losses in their functional health. Longitudinal studies showed that a negative view on own ageing is detrimental to functional and physical health. It is an open question whether the detrimental effect of a negative view on ageing depends on the attribution of health problems to age or to illnesses.

Methods: A longitudinal study (PREFER) in N = 309 older people (65+) with multiple illnesses assessed functional health, views on ageing (expectations of age-related losses) and attributions of symptoms to age or to illnesses at three measurement points.

Results: The functional health of people who viewed ageing as accompanied by physical losses significantly declined over a 6-month period (β = 0.11; p < 0.05). Moderated regression analyses showed that this negative effect is smaller for those people who attribute their health problems to age and not to illnesses (interaction β = 0.09; p < 0.05). All analyses were controlled for functional health, physical activity, disease impact and subjective health at baseline.

Conclusions: This emphasises the role of individual views of ageing on health. The positive effects might be due to that people who expect ageing-related losses rather than illness-related lossesare better able to maintain or resume beneficial health behaviours.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:ageing perceptions, ageing, health
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Clinical and health psychology
Research Field:Health psychology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Health related to ageing
UTAS Author:Schuez, BEC (Dr Benjamin Schuez)
ID Code:78026
Year Published:2010
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2012-06-12
Last Modified:2013-01-11

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