Navigation Links
Old as you want to be: Study finds most seniors feel younger

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---Older people tend to feel about 13 years younger than their chronological age.

That is one of the findings of a study forthcoming in the Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Science. The researchers analyzed the responses of 516 men and women age 70 and older who participated in the Berlin Aging Study, tracking how their perceptions about age and their satisfaction with aging changed over a six-year period.

"People generally felt quite a bit younger than they actually were, and they also showed relatively high levels of satisfaction with aging over the time period studied," said Jacqui Smith, a psychologist at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR). Smith conducted the study with colleagues Anna Kleinspehn-Ammerlahn and Dana Kotter-Gruehn at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.

"We examined individual changes over time, and expected the gap to increase. But we were surprised to find that it was maintained, on average. Perhaps feeling about 13 years younger is an optimal illusion in old age," Smith said.

Smith and colleagues found that some of the oldest participants did feel even younger over time. But poor health reduced the gap between felt age and actual age.

The researchers also assessed how old people thought they looked, asking them: "How old do you feel when you look at yourself in a mirror?" They responded by selecting an age on a scale that ranged from 0 to 120 years. In general, at the start of the study people said they looked about 10 years younger than they were. By the end of the study, this gap had narrowed; people felt they looked only about seven years younger than their chronological age.

In general, women perceived their appearance as being closer to their actual age, Smith said. "Women saw themselves as about four years older than their male peers," she said. "There are several likely reasons for this gender gap in subjective physical age. One is that women may be more aware of their appearance than men, especially given the negative stereotypes of older bodies."

To assess satisfaction with aging, researchers asked participants to what extent they agreed with these five statements: "Things keep getting worse as I get older;" "I have as much pep as I had last year;" "As I get older, I am less useful;" "As I get older, things are better than I thought they would be;" and "I am as happy now as I was when I was younger."

Initially, men were more satisfied than women with their own aging. But over the six-year period studied, men's satisfaction decreased more than women's. Poor health magnified these patterns, Smith said.

According to Smith, examining changes in how people feel about the aging process in old age can provide important indicators about the resilience and vitality of the older self. In unpublished research based on the Berlin Aging Study, she and colleagues have found that people who feel younger are less likely to die than those who don't, given the same level of chronological age and equivalent physical health.

"Feeling positive about getting older may well be associated with remaining active and experiencing better health in old age," she said. "Thus, studies on self-perceptions of aging can contribute to our understanding of potential indicators of resilience in older adults and the aging self."


Contact: Diane Swanbrow
University of Michigan

Related medicine news :

1. Bridging the Technology Gap: Study Confirms Teens Open to Discussing Drugs and Alcohol With Parents By Email, Cell Phones
2. Eisai Will Initiate First Head-to-Head Study Comparing Dacogen(R) (decitabine for injection) and Vidaza(R) (azacitidine) in Patients with Myelodysplastic Syndromes
3. Large study illustrates cardiac CT can effectively assess coronary artery disease
4. MRSA and C. difficile Infections Reduced by 50% in Hospital Study
5. Nationwide study confirms PET as the most powerful imaging tool in cancer management
6. Study: Patient Harm More Common with Patient-Controlled Pain Medication
7. Study unmasks how ovarian tumors evade immune system
8. Study shows how shift workers can improve job performance and implement a realistic sleep schedule
9. Study Recruiting From Alzheimers-Prone Families
10. Aged care workers to leave industry en masse due to stress, warns University of Melbourne study
11. Study compares strategies for BK virus nephropathy
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 28, 2015 , ... There is only one major question facing ... last year? , This question has not been an easy question to answer. Especially ... age and the younger workforce don’t share the same discipline around working long hours. ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... study carried out by the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia ... of hospitalizations for head injuries. The article explains that part of the reason for ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... The ... in America. As people age, more care is needed, especially with Alzheimer’s, dementia ... medical professionals are being overworked. The forgotten part of this equation: 80 percent ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... An inventor, ... to dispense prescription medications at home, so he invented the patent-pending ELECTRONIC M.D. ... dispense prescription medications. In doing so, it could help to prevent potential overdose ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... Lizzie’s ... , The company is offering customers 10% off of their purchase of lice treatment ... treatment at full price. According to a company spokesperson. “Finding lice is a sure ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/29/2015)... Nov. 29, 2015  The GE Health Cloud 1 ... Society of North America (RSNA) meeting ... healthcare industry, the new cloud ecosystem and its applications will ... care pathways and multidisciplinary teams – both inside and outside ... and CEO of GE. "As the digital industrial leader, we ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... 27, 2015 Une nouvelle ... au Bremachlorin contre le cancer avancé.    ... combiner l,immunothérapie au traitement photodynamique au Bremachlorin contre ... Une nouvelle approche consistant à combiner l,immunothérapie ... avancé.    Clinical Cancer Research ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... 2015  Lannett Company, Inc. (NYSE: LCI ... acquisition of Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals Inc. (KU), the ... company UCB S.A. (Euronext: UCB). ... KU from UCB for total consideration of approximately ... customary working capital adjustment, a deduction of certain ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: