How do views on aging affect health outcomes in adulthood and late life? Explanations for an established connection

Susanne Wurm*, Manfred Diehl, Anna E. Kornadt, Gerben J. Westerhof, Hans-Werner Wahl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

124 Citations (Scopus)


Personal views on aging, such as age stereotypes and subjective aging, can affect various health outcomes in later life. For the past 20. years or so, a large body of experimental and longitudinal work has provided ample evidence for this connection. Thus, it seems timely to better understand the pathways of this linkage. The majority of existing studies has either focused on age stereotypes or subjective aging. This theoretical paper provides a systematic comparison of major theoretical approaches that offer explanations through which different views on aging may affect health. After a short review of findings on the short- and long-term effects of different views on aging, we describe theoretical approaches that provide explanations of underlying mechanisms for the effect of both uni- and multidimensional views on aging on health outcomes. We compare the specific characteristics of these approaches, provide a heuristic framework and outline recommendations for future research routes. A better understanding of the impact of different views on aging on health outcomes is not only relevant for basic research in life-span developmental psychology, geropsychology and health psychology, it has also implications for intervention research and public health practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-43
JournalDevelopmental review
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • Age stereotype
  • Health
  • Pathways
  • Self-perceptions of aging
  • Subjective age
  • Views on aging
  • 2023 OA procedure


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