Longitudinal benefit of positive self-perceptions of aging on functional health

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2002 Sep;57(5):P409-17. doi: 10.1093/geronb/57.5.p409.


We examined whether those with more positive self-perceptions of aging (older individuals' beliefs about their own aging) report better functional health over an 18-year period than do those with more negative self-perceptions of aging. We found that those with more positive self-perceptions of aging in 1975 reported better functional health from 1977 to 1995, when we controlled for baseline measures of functional health, self-rated health, age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status. We also demonstrated that perceived control partially mediates the relationship between self-perceptions of aging and functioning. The sample consisted of 433 participants in the Ohio Longitudinal Study of Aging and Retirement, a community-based study of individuals aged 50 and older, who were interviewed in 6 waves. Our study suggests that the way in which individuals view their own aging affects their functional health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Self Care / psychology*
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Behavior
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • United States