When I grow up: Examing projected gains, maintenance and losses in aging adults

G.P. Freeman, S.K. Whitbourne, G. Westerhof

    Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting AbstractOther research output

    Abstract

    There has not been much research on the future perspective of aging adults. We therefore used six open-ended sentence completion stems, derived from the SELE questionnaire (Dittmann-Kohli, 1995; Dittman-Kohli & Westerhof, 1999), to examine respondents’ projections of possible gains, maintenance, and losses regarding aging and the future. A gain was defined as an event or circumstance the participant characterized as an improvement, a loss defined as deterioration, and maintenance defined as a continuation of the status quo. Respondents were 133 adults (54 male) with ages ranging from 40 to 84 years of age (M = 60.2). With 133 respondents and 6 stems, 798 responses were coded for future perspective. Three-hundred thirty-three responses were coded as a gain (i.e., In the next few years... “I will spend more time on me”), 104 indicated maintenance (i.e., Later when I’m older... “life will be just as enjoyable”), 227 were coded as anticipated losses (I am afraid that I... “will not be there to see my grandchildren grow”), and 134 did not fit into these categories. Further coding separated projections into specific content areas. Examining gains, statements concerning increased enjoyment of life were most common (N = 97, 29.1%). Examining losses, statements of physical decline were most frequent (N = 59, 26.0%). Additionally, other psychological variables were assessed — identity processes, self-esteem, and aging experience. Systematic relations with these variables were found, e.g., self-esteem and projected gains (r = .185, p < .05). This research underscores the benefit of utilizing openended and traditional inventories in tandem.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)145-145
    Number of pages1
    JournalThe Gerontologist
    Volume50
    Issue numberSuppl. 1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2010
    Event63rd Annual Scientific Meeting of The Gerontological Society of America 2010: Transitions of Care Across the Aging Continuum - New Orleans, United States
    Duration: 19 Nov 201023 Nov 2010
    Conference number: 63

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