Scientific Network "Images of Aging: Via a Dynamic Life-span Model to New Perspectives for Research and Practice" funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)


Funding Period:
2017 to 2020
Network Members:
Dr. Verena Klusmann (Speaker, PI)
Ann-Kristin Beyer, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg; Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Anne Blawert, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Dr. Catherine Bowen
Dr. Martina Gabrian, Universität Heidelberg
Prof. Dr. Eva-Marie Kessler, MSB Medical School Berlin - Hochschule für Gesundheit und Medizin
Dr. Anna E. Kornadt, Universität Bielefeld
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Nanna Notthoff, Leipzig University
Dr. Svenja M. Spuling, Deutsches Zentrum für Altersfragen
Dr. Maja Wiest, Freie Universität Berlin
Dr. Julia K. Wolff, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg; IGES Institute
Prof. Dr. Susanne Wurm, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Project Description

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, we will collaborate with national and international guests. Practical implementation of selected findings in collaboration with the Bundesärztekammer (German association of physicians) and the Psychotherapeutenkammer (German association of psychotherapists) is planned.

Network Guests

Yael Benyamini, Ph.D., Professor, Tel-Aviv University
Becca Levy, Ph.D., Professor, Yale University
Joann M. Montepare, Ph.D., Professor, Lasell College
Nilam Ram, Ph.D., Associate Professor, The Pennsylvania State University
Dr. Kerry A. Sargent-Cox, Ph.D., The Australian National University
Yannick Stephan, Ph.D., Université Montpellier
Prof. Dr. Hans-Werner Wahl, Heidelberg University
Prof. Dr. Gerben J. Westerhof, University of Twente

Selected Publications:

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

Beyer, A.-K., Wolff, J. K., Warner, L. M., Schüz, B., & Wurm, S. (2015). The role of physical activity in the relationship between self-perceptions of ageing and self-rated health in older adults. Psychology & Health, 30(6), 671-685. doi:10.1080/08870446.2015.1014370

Bowen, C. E., & Skirbekk, V. (2016). Old age expectations are related to how long people want to live. Ageing and Society, 1–26. doi:10.1017/S0144686X16000726

Kessler, E.-M. & Bowen, C. E. (2015). Images of aging in the psychotherapeutic context.GeroPsych – The Journal of Gerontopsychology and Geriatric Psychiatry, 2, 47-55. doi:10.1024/1662-9647/a000129

Klusmann, V., Evers, A., Schwarzer, R., & Heuser, I. (2012). Views on aging and emotional benefits of physical activity: Effects of an exercise intervention in older women. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 13, 236-242. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2011.11.001

Kornadt, A. E., Voss, P., & Rothermund, K. (2017). Age stereotypes and self-views revisited: Patterns of internalization and projection processes across the life span. The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 72, 582-592. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbv099

Kornadt, A. E., Kessler, E.-M., Wurm, S., Bowen, C. E., Gabrian, M., Klusmann, V. (in press). Views on Ageing: A Lifespan Perspective. European Journal of Ageing. doi: 10.1007/s10433-019-00535-9

Spuling, S. M., Wurm, S., Tesch-Römer, C., & Huxhold, O. (2015). Changing predictors of self-rated health: Disentangling age and cohort effects. Psychology and Aging, 30(2), 462-474. doi:10.1037/a0039111

Spuling, S. M., Miche, M., Wurm, S., & Wahl, H.-W. (2013). Exploring the causal interplay of subjective age and health dimensions in the second half of life. A cross-lagged panel analysis. Zeitschrift für Gesundheitspsychologie, 21(1), 5-15. doi:10.1026/0943-8149/a000084

Spuling, S. M., Klusmann, V., Bowen, C. E., Kornadt, A. E., & Kessler, E. M. (in press). The uniqueness of subjective ageing: Convergent and discriminant validity. European Journal of Ageing. doi: 10.1007/s10433-019-00529-7

Voss, P., Wolff, J. K., & Rothermund, K. (2016). Relations between views on ageing and perceived age discrimination: A domain-specific perspective. European Journal Of Ageing, doi:10.1007/s10433-016-0381-4

Wolff, J. K., Beyer, A.-K., Wurm, S., Nowossadeck, S., & Wiest, M. (2017). Regional Impact of Population Aging on Changes in Individual Self-perceptions of Aging: Findings From the German Ageing Survey. The Gerontologist. doi:10.1093/geront/gnx127

Wurm, S., Warner, L.M., Ziegelmann, J., Wolff, J.K., Schüz, B. (2013). How do negative self-perceptions of aging become a self-fulfilling prophecy? Psychology and Aging, 28(4), 1088-1097. doi:10.1037/a0032845

Images of Aging in the Media

Robson, D. (July, 2018). The age you feel means more than your actual birthdate. BBC.

Kunze, A. (June, 2018). Glückliche Alte. Die Zeit. 

LFV Healthy Ageing (February 3, 2017). Eine positive Einstellung zum Altern verlängert das Leben.

Donovan, J. (September 2, 2016). “One in Six Say They'd 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.

Wolff, J . K. (2014). Was Hänschen nicht lernt? Info_Dienst für Gesundheitsförderung, 14 (2), 17.

Kornadt, A.E. & Rothermund, K. (2011). Die Vielfältigkeit und Relevanz von Altersstereotypen. Themenausgabe Alternde Gesellschaft(en), In-Mind Magazine, No. 2/2011.