Expectations Regarding Aging, Physical Activity, and Physical Function in Older Adults

Gerontol Geriatr Med. 2017 Apr 11:3:2333721417702350. doi: 10.1177/2333721417702350. eCollection 2017 Jan-Dec.


Objective: The present study examined how expectations regarding aging (ERA) influence physical activity participation and physical function. Method: We surveyed 148 older adults about their ERA (ERA-38), health-promoting lifestyles (HPLP-II), and self-rated health (RAND-36). We tested the mediating effect of physical activity on the relationships between ERA and physical function. Results: Positive expectations were associated with more engagement in physical activity (B = 0.016, p < .05) and better physical function (B = 0.521, p < .01). Physical activity mediated the relationship between ERA and physical function (B = 5.890, p < .01, indirect effect 0.092, CI = [0.015, 0.239]). Discussion: ERA play an important role in adoption of physically active lifestyles in older adults and may influence health outcomes, such as physical function. Future research should evaluate whether attempts to increase physical activity are more successful when modifications to ERA are also targeted.

Keywords: active life/physical activity; aging; expectations; health; older adults; physical function.