Article (Scientific journals)
Postponing old age: Evidence for historical change toward a later perceived onset of old age
Wettstein, Markus; Park, Rinseo; KORNADT, Anna Elena et al.
In pressIn Psychology and Aging
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Keywords :
subjective age threshold; birth cohort; midlife; old age; subjective age views
Abstract :
[en] “At what age would you describe someone as old?” Perceptions of when old age begins might be prone to upward shifts because of historical increases in life expectancy and retirement age, as well as better psychosocial functioning in later life. We investigated historical changes in within-person trajectories of the perceived onset of old age using data from 14,056 participants who entered the German Ageing Survey at age 40–85 years and who completed up to eight assessments across 25 years. Using longitudinal multilevel regression models, we found that at age 64, the average perceived onset of old age is at about age 75 years. Longitudinally, this perceived onset age increases by about 1 year for every 4-5 years of actual aging. We also found evidence for historical change. Compared to the earliest-born cohorts, later-born cohorts reported a later perceived onset of old age, yet with decelerating trend among more recent birth cohorts. Within–person increases of the perceived onset of old age were steeper in later-born cohorts. The described cohort trends remained statistically significant when controlling for covariates. Being younger, male, living in East Germany, feeling older, reporting more loneliness, more chronic diseases, and poorer self-rated health were each associated with a perceived earlier onset of old age. Our results suggest that there is a nonlinear historical trend toward a later perceived onset of old age, which might have meaningful implications for individuals’ perspectives on aging and old age.
Disciplines :
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology: Multidisciplinary, general & others
DOI :
10.1037/pag0000812
Author, co-author :
Wettstein, Markus
Park, Rinseo
KORNADT, Anna Elena  ;  University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences (DBCS) > Lifespan Development, Family and Culture
Wurm, Susanne
Ram, Nilam
Gerstorf, Denis
External co-authors :
yes
Language :
English
Title :
Postponing old age: Evidence for historical change toward a later perceived onset of old age
Publication date :
In press
Journal title :
Psychology and Aging
ISSN :
0882-7974
Publisher :
American Psychological Association, Washington, United States - District of Columbia
Peer reviewed :
Peer Reviewed verified by ORBi
Available on ORBilu :
since 01 March 2024

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