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See detailContext Influences on the Relationship Between Views of Aging and Subjective Age: The Moderating Role of Culture and Domain of Functioning
Hess, Thomas M.; O'Brien, Erica L.; Voss, Peggy et al

in PSYCHOLOGY AND AGING (2017), 32(5), 419-431

Subjective age has been shown to reliably predict a variety of psychological and physical health outcomes, yet our understanding of its determinants is still quite limited. Using data from the Aging as ... [more ▼]

Subjective age has been shown to reliably predict a variety of psychological and physical health outcomes, yet our understanding of its determinants is still quite limited. Using data from the Aging as Future project, the authors examined the degree to which views of aging influence subjective age and how this influence varies across cultures and domains of everyday functioning. Using data from 1,877 adults aged from 30 to 95 years of age collected in China, Germany, and the United States, they assessed how general attitudes about aging and perceptions of oneself as an older adult influenced subjective age estimates in 8 different domains of functioning. More positive attitudes about aging were associated with older subjective ages, whereas more positive views of self in old age were associated with younger subjective age. It is hypothesized that these effects are reflective of social-comparison processes and self-protective mechanisms. These influences varied considerably over contexts, with views of aging having a greater impact in domains associated with stronger negative stereotypes of aging (e.g., health) compared to those with more positive ones (e.g., family). Culture also moderated the impact of aging views in terms of the strength of prediction, direction of effect, and age of greatest influence, presumably due to cultural differences in the salience and strength of aging-related belief systems across contexts. The results illustrate the contextual sensitivity of subjective age and highlight the role played by an individual's views of old age-both in general and regarding oneself-in determining their own experience of aging. [less ▲]

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See detailContext Influences on the Subjective Experience of Aging: The Impact of Culture and Domains of Functioning
O'Brien, Erica L.; Hess, Thomas M.; Kornadt, Anna Elena UL et al

in GERONTOLOGIST (2017), 57(2), 127-137

Background and Objectives: Attitudes about aging influence how people feel about their aging and affect psychological and health outcomes in later life. Given cross-cultural variability in such attitudes ... [more ▼]

Background and Objectives: Attitudes about aging influence how people feel about their aging and affect psychological and health outcomes in later life. Given cross-cultural variability in such attitudes, the subjective experience of aging (e.g., subjective age [ SA]) may also vary, potentially accounting for culture-specific patterns of aging-related outcomes. Our study explored cultural variation in SA and its determinants. Research Design and Methods: American (N = 569), Chinese (N = 492), and German (N = 827) adults aged 30-95 years completed a questionnaire that included instruments measuring basic demographic information, SA, beliefs about thresholds of old age, control over life changes, and age dependency of changes in eight different life domains (i.e., family, work). Results: Analyses revealed consistency across cultures in the domain-specificity of SA, but differences in the amount of shared variance across domains (e.g., Chinese adults exhibited greater homogeneity across domains than did Americans and Germans). Cultural differences were also observed in levels of SA in some domains, which were attenuated by domain-specific beliefs (e.g., control). Interestingly, beliefs about aging accounted for more cultural variation in SA than did sociodemographic factors (e.g., education). Discussion and Implications: Our results demonstrate that subjective perceptions of aging and everyday functioning may be best understood from a perspective focused on context (i.e., culture, life domain). Given its important relation to functioning, examination of cross-cultural differences in the subjective experience of aging may highlight factors that determine variations in aging-related outcomes that then could serve as targets of culture-specific interventions promoting well-being in later life. [less ▲]

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