Posted on Mar 15, 2010, 6 a.m.
People who feel young for their age are more confident about retaining mental faculties as they age.
Surveying almost 500 men and women, ages 55 to 74 years, about their attitudes towards aging as part of the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States. Markus H. Schafer, from Purdue University (Indiana, USA) sought to ascertain opinions regarding one’s subjective age, comparing that number to that same person’s chronological age, in an effort to determine which parameter more greatly influenced the perceptions of mental faculties in aging. In 1995, when the researchers first asked the study subjects what age they felt most of the time, the majority identified with being 12 years younger than they actually were. Writing that: “Beyond the effects of chronological age, older age identities were associated with more pessimistic dispositions about cognitive aging,” the team found that: “Age identity shapes cognitive aging dispositions … . The findings give further evidence about the far-reaching implications of age identity for successful aging.”
Markus H. Schafer, Tetyana P. Shippee. “Age Identity, Gender, and Perceptions of Decline: Does Feeling Older Lead to Pessimistic Dispositions About Cognitive Aging?” The Journals of Gerontology Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 2010; 65b (1): 91; DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gbp046.