Longitudinal change of self-perceptions of aging and mortality

J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2014 Mar;69(2):168-73. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbt005. Epub 2013 Feb 18.


Objective: To understand the association between self-perceptions of aging (SPA) and mortality in late life. Method. The sample (n = 1,507) was drawn from the Australian Longitudinal Study of Aging (baseline age = 65-103 years). We used joint growth curve and survival models on 5 waves of data for a period of 16 years to investigate the random intercept and slope of SPA for predicting all-cause mortality.

Results: The unadjusted model revealed that poor SPA at baseline, as well as decline in SPA, increased the risk of mortality (SPA intercept hazard ratio [HR] = 1.21, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.13, 1.31; SPA slope HR = 1.17, 95% CI = 1.02, 1.33). This relationship remained significant for the SPA intercept after adjusting for other risk factors including demographics, physical health, cognitive functioning, and well-being.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that a single measurement of SPA in late life may be very informative of future long-term vulnerability to health decline and mortality. Furthermore, a dynamic measure of SPA may be indicative of adaptation to age-related changes. This supports a "self-fulfilling" hypothesis, whereby SPA is a lens through which age-related changes are interpreted, and these interpretations can affect future health and health behaviors.

Keywords: Joint random effects; Mortality; Self-perceptions of aging; Time-to-event modeling..

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Mortality*
  • Self Concept*
  • Time Factors