Article (Scientific journals)
Context 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 et al.
2017In Gerontologist, 57 (2), p. 127-S137
Peer Reviewed verified by ORBi


Full Text
O'Brien et al. (2017).pdf
Publisher postprint (178.09 kB)
Request a copy

All documents in ORBilu are protected by a user license.

Send to


Abstract :
[en] 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.
Disciplines :
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology: Multidisciplinary, general & others
Author, co-author :
O'Brien, Erica L.
Hess, Thomas M.
Kornadt, Anna Elena  ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Integrative Research Unit: Social and Individual Development (INSIDE)
Rothermund, Klaus
Fung, Helene
Voss, Peggy
External co-authors :
Language :
Title :
Context Influences on the Subjective Experience of Aging: The Impact of Culture and Domains of Functioning
Publication date :
Journal title :
Publisher :
Gerontological Society of America, Washington, United States - District of Columbia
Volume :
Issue :
Pages :
Peer reviewed :
Peer Reviewed verified by ORBi
Available on ORBilu :
since 02 December 2019


Number of views
34 (0 by Unilu)
Number of downloads
0 (0 by Unilu)

WoS citations


Similar publications

Contact ORBilu