Exploring the Reciprocal Associations of Perceptions of Aging and Social Involvement

Ella Schwartz, Liat Ayalon, Oliver Huxhold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Positive perceptions of aging are known to have beneficial effects for older adults' health and well-being, but less is known regarding their social correlates. The current study aimed to disentangle the bidirectional associations of perceptions of aging with informal and formal social involvement. Method: Data for this study came from the 2008 and 2014 waves of the German Ageing Survey (DEAS). Informal social involvement was assessed as the frequency of providing advice and emotional support to others. Formal social involvement was measured as the number of groups and organizations one participates in and the frequency of attending them. A latent change score model was used to assess the bidirectional links between the constructs. Results: Adults with more positive aging perception at baseline were likely to become more informally and formally socially involved over time. Informal social involvement predicted better perceptions of aging, but not formal social involvement. These trends were consistent across age groups. Conclusions: The results suggest that having positive expectations regarding one's aging might encourage adults to maintain a more engaged and socially productive lifestyle. In addition, informal social involvement, characterized by the provision of advice and support to others, is beneficial for experiencing the aging process more positively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-573
Number of pages11
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume76
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • Ageism
  • Social support
  • Structural equation modeling
  • Volunteer activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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