Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Negative stereotypes about aging may shorten your life by affecting will to live

29.07.2002


Positve self-perceptions of aging may influence longevity more than other health factors

Even if we are not aware of them, negative thoughts about aging that we pick up from society may be cutting years off our lives, according to Becca Levy, Ph.D., the lead researcher of a study conducted at Yale University’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. The study found that older people with more positive self-perceptions of aging, measured up to 23 years earlier, lived 7.5 years longer than those with less positive self-perceptions of aging. The findings appear in the August issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA).

The 7.5 year higher longevity for those with the more positive attitudes toward aging remained even after other factors were taken into account, including age, gender, socioeconomic status, loneliness and overall health. "The effect of more positive self-perceptions of aging on survival is greater than the physiological measures of low systolic blood pressure and cholesterol, each of which is associated with a longer lifespan of four years or less," said the study authors. "It is also greater than the independent contributions of lower body mass index, no history of smoking, and a tendency to exercise, each of these factors has been found to contribute between one and three years of added life."



Using information from 660 participants aged 50 and older from a small town in Ohio who were part of the Ohio Longitudinal Study of Aging and Retirement (OLSAR), Dr. Levy and her co-authors, Martin D. Slade, MPH and Stanislav V. Kasl, Ph.D., of Yale University and Suzanne Kunkel, Ph.D., of Miami University of Ohio, compared mortality rates to responses made 23 years earlier by the participants (338 men and 322 women). The responses included agreeing or disagreeing with such statements as "As you get older, you are less useful."

In the same study, the researchers also find that the will to live partially accounts for the relationship between positive self-perceptions of aging and survival, but does not completely account for difference in longevity. Another factor likely involved, according to the researchers, is cardiovascular response to stress, which Dr. Levy’s earlier research has shown can be adversely affected when elderly persons are exposed to negative stereotypes of aging.

These negative views of aging can operate without older people’s awareness, say the researchers, because they are thought to be internalized in childhood and unlikely to be consciously evaluated as we get older.

"Our study carries two messages. The discouraging one is that negative self-perceptions can diminish life expectancy; the encouraging one is that positive self-perceptions can prolong life expectancy," say the authors.


Article: "Longevity Increased by Positive Self-Perceptions of Aging," Becca R. Levy and Martin D. Slade, Yale University, Suzanne Kunkel, Miami University of Ohio, and Stanislav V. Kasl, Yale University; Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 83, No. 2.

Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs Office or at: http://www.apa.org/journals/psp/press_releases/august_2002/psp832261.html

Reporters: Lead author Becca R. Levy, Ph.D., can be reached at (203) 785-2869 or by e-mail at becca.levy@yale.edu.

The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists. APA’s membership includes more than 155,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 53 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human welfare.

David Partenheimer | EurekAlert
Further information:
http://www.apa.org/journals/psp/press_releases/august_2002/psp832261.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>