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 Correct antibiotic dosing could preserve lung microbial diversity in cystic fibrosis
22.02.2019 | Children's National Health System

nachricht Researchers find trigger that turns strep infections into flesh-eating disease
19.02.2019 | Houston Methodist

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: (Re)solving the jet/cocoon riddle of a gravitational wave event

An international research team including astronomers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has combined radio telescopes from five continents to prove the existence of a narrow stream of material, a so-called jet, emerging from the only gravitational wave event involving two neutron stars observed so far. With its high sensitivity and excellent performance, the 100-m radio telescope in Effelsberg played an important role in the observations.

In August 2017, two neutron stars were observed colliding, producing gravitational waves that were detected by the American LIGO and European Virgo detectors....

Im Focus: Light from a roll – hybrid OLED creates innovative and functional luminous surfaces

Up to now, OLEDs have been used exclusively as a novel lighting technology for use in luminaires and lamps. However, flexible organic technology can offer much more: as an active lighting surface, it can be combined with a wide variety of materials, not just to modify but to revolutionize the functionality and design of countless existing products. To exemplify this, the Fraunhofer FEP together with the company EMDE development of light GmbH will be presenting hybrid flexible OLEDs integrated into textile designs within the EU-funded project PI-SCALE for the first time at LOPEC (March 19-21, 2019 in Munich, Germany) as examples of some of the many possible applications.

The Fraunhofer FEP, a provider of research and development services in the field of organic electronics, has long been involved in the development of...

Im Focus: Regensburg physicists watch electron transfer in a single molecule

For the first time, an international team of scientists based in Regensburg, Germany, has recorded the orbitals of single molecules in different charge states in a novel type of microscopy. The research findings are published under the title “Mapping orbital changes upon electron transfer with tunneling microscopy on insulators” in the prestigious journal “Nature”.

The building blocks of matter surrounding us are atoms and molecules. The properties of that matter, however, are often not set by these building blocks...

Im Focus: University of Konstanz gains new insights into the recent development of the human immune system

Scientists at the University of Konstanz identify fierce competition between the human immune system and bacterial pathogens

Cell biologists from the University of Konstanz shed light on a recent evolutionary process in the human immune system and publish their findings in the...

Im Focus: Transformation through Light

Laser physicists have taken snapshots of carbon molecules C₆₀ showing how they transform in intense infrared light

When carbon molecules C₆₀ are exposed to an intense infrared light, they change their ball-like structure to a more elongated version. This has now been...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Global Legal Hackathon at HAW Hamburg

11.02.2019 | Event News

The world of quantum chemistry meets in Heidelberg

30.01.2019 | Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

JILA researchers make coldest quantum gas of molecules

22.02.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Understanding high efficiency of deep ultraviolet LEDs

22.02.2019 | Materials Sciences

Russian scientists show changes in the erythrocyte nanostructure under stress

22.02.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>