Health and subjective views on aging: Longitudinal findings from the ActiFE Ulm study

Schönstein, Anton ; Dallmeier, Dhayana ; Denkinger, Michael ; Rothenbacher, Dietrich ; Klenk, Jochen ; Bahrmann, Anke ; Wahl, Hans-Werner

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-597411
Document Type: Article
Year of publication: 2021
The title of a journal, publication series: The Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological and Social Sciences
Volume: 76
Issue number: 7
Page range: 1349-1359
Place of publication: Oxford ; Cary, NC
Publishing house: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 1079-5014 , 1758-5368
Publication language: English
Institution: School of Social Sciences > Kognitive Psychologie mit Schwerp. Kognitives Altern (Kuhlmann 2015-)
Pre-existing license: Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)
Subject: 150 Psychology
Abstract: Objectives: Previous research supports that subjective views on aging (VoA), such as older subjective age (SA) and negative attitudes toward own aging (ATOA) go along with negative outcomes. A differentiated treatment of health and disease as antecedents of VoA is largely lacking. Therefore, our objective was to estimate the relationship between generally framed physical, affective, and cognitive health as well as specific diseases and VoA, operationalized both as SA and ATOA. Methods: Data was drawn from the ActiFE-Ulm study for which a representative sample of community-dwelling older people (65-90 years) was recruited at baseline. Follow-ups were conducted 7.7 years (median) after recruitment (N=526). Health and disease related data at baseline, based on established assessment procedures for epidemiological studies, were regressed on VoA (1-item SA indicator, 5-item ATOA scale) measures at follow-up. Results: Reported severity of affective health problems such as depression was the strongest general risk-factor for both older SA and negative ATOA. Also, some but not all major diseases considered were associated with VoA. Notably, back pain predicted negative ATOA, while cancer was associated with older SA. Rheumatism was linked with more negative ATOA along with higher SA. Throughout analyses, explained variance in ATOA was considerably higher than in SA. Conclusions: Affective health problems, such as depression, should be regarded as a major correlate of subjective aging views. Interestingly, diseases do not have to be life-threatening to be associated with older SA or negative ATOA.

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