Accelerated increase and decrease in subjective age as a function of changes in loneliness and objective social indicators over a four-year period: Results from the health and retirement study

Liat Ayalon, Yuval Palgi, Sharon Avidor, Ehud Bodner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: The study examined the role of changes in loneliness and objective social indicators in the formation of changes in subjective age over a four-year period.Methods: The Health and Retirement Study is a US nationally representative study of older adults over 50 and their spouse of any age. We restricted the sample to individuals, 65 years of age and older (n = 2591). An accelerated increase in subjective age was defined as an increase in subjective age over the two waves greater than five years. An accelerated decrease in subjective age was defined as a difference that was lower than three years. These were examined against a change in subjective age in the range of three to five years (i.e., change consistent with the passage of time).Results: For 23.4% of the sample, changes in subjective age were consistent with the passage of time. A total of 38.3% had an accelerated decrease in subjective age, whereas 38.3% had an accelerated increase. A decrease in loneliness over the two waves resulted in an accelerated decrease in subjective age, whereas an increase in depressive symptoms resulted in an accelerated increase in subjective age. Changes in objective social indicators, physical difficulties or medical comorbidity did not predict changes in subjective age.Conclusions: This is one of very few studies that examined changes in subjective age over time. Changes in subjective age represent an important construct that corresponding to other changes in subjective experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)743-751
Number of pages9
JournalAging and Mental Health
Volume20
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Taylor & Francis.

Keywords

  • age
  • aloneness
  • epidemiology
  • loneliness
  • social relations
  • subjective

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Gerontology
  • Psychiatric Mental Health

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