Psychological views on aging – an important issue in the dynamics of personal development, behavior, and health: Scientific DFG network presents current research results in a special issue in European Journal of Ageing.
Psychological views on aging – our notions about aging, old age, and older people – are the topic of a special section of the December issue of the European Journal of Ageing (EJA). The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly amplified the timeliness of the research: Older people have been mostly regarded as one, barely differentiated risk group, as vulnerable, helpless, and in need of society’s protection. This is a scientifically untenable simplification that could jeopardize efforts to establish more differentiated views on aging and to reduce age discrimination.
The current special section in EJA is guest edited by Verena Klusmann (University of Konstanz and Hamburg University) and Anna E. Kornadt (Université du Luxembourg). Since 2017 they have been working together with colleagues in the DFG Scientific Network ‘Images of Aging’. In eight articles the international contributors present new theoretical, methodological, and empirical perspectives on the structure, origins, and outcomes of views on ageing across the life span.
The authors show how notions about one’s own aging and the aging of others differ between older and younger adults and that people who feel younger take up other everyday activities and even live longer than people who feel older. In further contributions it becomes evident that people who are physically active feel younger in the subsequent up to 20 years, while after critical health events views on aging show to be more negative. The special section is framed by a theoretical article, which presents a lifespan approach for views on aging, and by a review, which suggests validated and innovative assessment tools. The special section in EJA thus presents the state-of-the-art in psychological views on aging research and provides a series of new and innovative findings that help us better understand positive aging.
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Over the past 20 years, research has substantiated the importance of images of aging for successful development and sustained quality of life over the full length of the life span. To date, a deep understanding of the origins of images of aging and the underlying processes by which they influence important outcomes is lacking. Such an understanding is necessary for translation of scientific findings into interventions and public policies. Our network aims at closing these research gaps. Our goals are to propose a common terminology in this research area, to examine possible determinants of images of aging, and to understand the mechanisms by which they are operating. We will consider the role of various context factors.
To accomplish these goals, since 2017 we had serveral network meetings and workshops and established collaborations with national and international colleagues. Centrals results of our network are ready to be published in a Special Issue at the European Journal of Ageing.
Central Publications of the Network:
Klusmann, V., Notthoff, N., Beyer, A.-K., Blawert, A., & Gabrian, M. (2020). The assessment of views on ageing: A review of self-report measures and innovative extensions. European Journal of Ageing. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10433-020-00556-9
Editor's Choice Article: Klusmann, V., Sproesser, G., Wolff, J., & Renner, B. (2019). Positive self-perceptions of aging promote healthy eating behavior across the lifespan via social-cognitive processes. Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 74, 735―744. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbx139
Benyamini, Y. & Burns, E. (2019) Views on aging: older adults’ self-perceptions of age and of health. European Journal of Ageing. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10433-019-00528-8
Bowen, C. E., Spuling, S., Kornadt, A. E., & Wiest, M. (2019). Young people feel wise and older people feel energetic: Comparing age stereotypes and self‑evaluations across adulthood. European Journal of Ageing. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10433-019-00548-4
Kornadt, A. E., Kessler, E.-M., Wurm, S., Bowen, C. E., Gabrian, M., & Klusmann, V. (2019). Views on ageing: A lifespan perspective. European Journal of Ageing. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10433-019-00535-9
Montepare, J. (2019). An exploration of subjective age, actual age, age awareness, and engagement in everyday behaviors. European Journal of Ageing. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10433-019-00534-w
Spuling, S. M., Klusmann, V., Bowen, C. E., Kornadt, A. E., & Kessler, E. M. (2019). The uniqueness of subjective ageing: Convergent and discriminant validity. European Journal of Ageing. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10433-019-00529-7
Stephan, Y., Sutin, A. R., & Terracciano, A. (2019). Physical activity and subjective age across adulthood in four samples. European Journal of Ageing. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10433-019-00537-7
Wurm, S., Wiest, M., Wolff, J. K., Beyer, A.-K., & Spuling, S. (2019). Changes in views on aging in later adulthood: The role of cardiovascular events. European Journal of Ageing. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10433-019-00547-5
Images of Aging in the Media
Reckwell, J. (2020). "Die Corona-Pandemie ist in der Tat auch ein herber Schlag für die Antidiskriminierungsbemühungen." Interview mit Verena Klusmann-Weißkopf, Leitung des Arbeitsbereichs Gesundheitswissenschaft des Institutes für Bewegungswissenschaft. Interviewreihe - eine Fakultät stellt sich vor #2. https://www.pb.uni-hamburg.de/ueber-die-fakultaet/aktuelles/2020/interviewreihe-2.html
Dörhofer, P. (2020). Diskriminierung im Alter: "Die Corona-Krise kann den Generationenkonflikt verstärken". Frankfurter Rundschau (FR.de). https://www.fr.de/panorama/corona-diskriminierung-alte-menschen-senioren-forscher-generationenkonflikt-zr-13654603.html
Schneider, A. (2020). Ältere Menschen in der Berichterstattung: Isoliert auch in den Medien.Deutschlandfunk. https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/aeltere-menschen-in-der-berichterstattung-isoliert-auch-in.2907.de.html?dram:article_id=474801
Haist, K. & Kutz, S. (2020). Corona ist vernichtend - auch für unseren Blick auf das Alter. Stern.de. https://www.stern.de/gesundheit/corona-ist-vernichtend---auch-fuer-unseren-blick-auf-das-alter-9217856.html
Robson, D. (July, 2018). The age you feel means more than your actual birthdate.BBC. http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180712-the-age-you-feel-means-more-than-your-actual-birthdate
Kunze, A. (June, 2018). Glückliche Alte. Die Zeit. https://www.zeit.de/2018/25/senioren-alter-gesellschaft-respekt-akzeptanz-glueck
LFV Healthy Ageing (February 3, 2017). Eine positive Einstellung zum Altern verlängert das Leben. http://www.leibniz-gesundes-altern.de/presse/aktuelles-forschungsergebnisse/news-details/article/eine_positive_einstellung_zum_altern_verlaengert_das_leben_voller_hoersaal_bei_science_society_1000/
Donovan, J. (September 2, 2016). “One in Six Say They'd Rather Die 'Young.' What Age Is That?” http://now.howstuffworks.com/2016/09/02/one-six-say-theyd-rather-die-young-what-age-is-that
Wurm, S., & Saß, A. C. (2015). Gesundes Leben im Alter – geht mit dem Alter alles nur bergab? Der Bürger im Staat, 65 (2/3), 130-137. http://www.buergerimstaat.de/2_3_15/altern.pdf