College students (N = 3,435) in 26 cultures reported their perceptions of age-related changes in physical, cognitive, and socioemotional areas of functioning and rated societal views of aging within their culture. There was widespread cross-cultural consensus regarding the expected direction of aging trajectories with (a) perceived declines in societal views of aging, physical attractiveness, the ability to perform everyday tasks, and new learning; (b) perceived increases in wisdom, knowledge, and received respect; and (c) perceived stability in family authority and life satisfaction. Cross-cultural variations in aging perceptions were associated with culture-level indicators of population aging, education levels, values, and national character stereotypes. These associations were stronger for societal views on aging and perceptions of socioemotional changes than for perceptions of physical and cognitive changes. A consideration of culture-level variables also suggested that previously reported differences in aging perceptions between Asian and Western countries may be related to differences in population structure.
- national character stereotypes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Geriatrics and Gerontology