Daily fluctuations in subjective age and depressive symptoms: the roles of attitudes to ageing and chronological age

Dikla Segel-Karpas, Amit Shrira, Ella Cohn-Schwartz, Ehud Bodner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Studies indicate that both subjective age—individuals’ perception of their own age as older or younger than their chronological age, and attitudes to ageing are related to physical and mental health. Less is known about the possible dual effect of these two constructs of subjective views of ageing. In the current study, 334 participants (aged 30–90, M = 58.15) reported their daily subjective age and mental health along 14 consecutive days. Attitudes to ageing were measured at baseline. Results indicated that daily variation in subjective age was related to daily variation in depressive symptoms, such that people experienced more depressive symptoms at days they felt older. Furthermore, we found that attitudes to ageing (perceptions of losses, physical change, and psychological growth) moderated this relationship. The covariation between daily subjective age and daily depressive symptoms was stronger when attitudes to ageing were less favorable (e.g., high perceptions of losses and low psychological growth). The moderating effect of losses was especially prominent among older participants. This indicates that attitudes to ageing moderate the toll that feeling old takes on mental health, especially in older age. The results also emphasize the need to understand how different subjective views on ageing, measured in different time frames, operate interactively to shape individual’s daily experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-751
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Ageing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.


  • Attitudes to ageing
  • Diary study
  • Mental health
  • Subjective age

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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