Positive attitudes on aging: A life course view

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

Abstract

Chosen as paper of the month in this issue of International Psychogeriatrics, Shenkin and colleagues (2014) tackle the complex but important issue of how older adults perceive the experience of aging and the life course factors that relate to these perceptions and attitudes. Taking advantage of data from a large, well-characterized group of healthy, community-living older persons in the United Kingdom (the Lothian Birth Cohort of 1963; Deary et al., 2007), the authors conclude that in spite of common tendencies in the medical literature, the popular press, or cultural stereotypes to focus on negative aspects of aging, older persons themselves generally report positive attitudes toward aging. Taking a life course approach, the authors conclude that the most significant and pervasive correlates associated with positive attitudes of aging across three assessed domains (psychosocial loss, physical change, and psychological growth) are personality traits. In contrast, affective disturbances (depression/anxiety) are associated with more negative attitudes to aging. The authors also identify other potentially modifiable factors associated with attitudes to aging, including physical disability, social class, or living circumstances. The authors point out several limitations of this work, including the self-selected sample limiting generalizability; psychometric and conceptual drawbacks of the Attitudes on Aging Questionnaire; and variance not explained by a priori clinically focused predictor variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
JournalInternational psychogeriatrics
Volume26
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 15 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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