Reference : Still the same and better off than others? Social and temporal comparisons in old age
Scientific journals : Article
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Multidisciplinary, general & others
Still the same and better off than others? Social and temporal comparisons in old age
Ferring, Dieter mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Integrative Research Unit: Social and Individual Development (INSIDE) >]
Hoffmann, M. [> >]
European Journal of Ageing
Germany: Springer
[en] Age Differences ; Aging ; Social Comparison
[en] Cognitive adaptation in the elderly and the motivated use of temporal and social comparisons set the conceptual frame for the present study. Three research questions were investigated in a sample of 2.129 persons aged between 50 and 90 years. First, the direction of social and temporal comparisons for three domains (physical fitness, mental fitness, psychological resilience) was studied, and findings did show that especially lateral followed by upward comparisons were most frequent under both perspectives; downward comparisons clearly showed the least frequency. Second, the distribution of comparison directions was investigated across four age groups. These analyses showed that upward comparisons increased and lateral comparisons decreased across age groups; differential results were observed for the domains under consideration. Third, the relation between social and temporal comparisons and self-esteem was studied. Results obtained here indicated a motivated use of specific comparison directions since downward social comparisons and upward temporal comparisons were most frequent in persons with low self-esteem. Taken together, the study underlines the different functions of social and temporal comparisons in adulthood and old age; it indicates a predominant need for consensus and consistency, and it highlights the importance of self-esteem in cognitive adaptation.

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