Awareness of age-related change, future time perspective, and implications for goal adjustment in older adulthood

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7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: How people adjust their goals is central to adaptation across the lifespan. However, little is known about individual difference characteristics that predict how and why people use different self-regulatory strategies. The present study investigated associations of perceived age-related gains and losses, and their interaction, as predictors of goal adjustment in older adulthood. Furthermore, we examined whether future time perspective (FTP) mediated relationships between awareness of age-related change (AARC) and goal adjustment. Method: A community-based sample of 408 adults (aged 60–88 years) was recruited via an internet-based research platform. Participants completed questionnaire measures of AARC, FTP, goal disengagement, and goal re-engagement. A flexibility index reflecting tendencies toward use of both goal disengagement and goal re-engagement strategies was also analyzed. Results: Although AARC-losses was associated with lower goal re-engagement and goal flexibility, this association was weaker among those with higher AARC-gains, indicating AARC-gains may be protective in the relationship between AARC-losses and goal adjustment. The association between AARC and goal adjustment was also shown to be mediated by FTP. Higher AARC-gains was associated with more expansive FTP, which was associated with lower goal disengagement and higher goal re-engagement. On the other hand, higher AARC-losses was associated with more restricted FTP, which was associated with higher goal disengagement and lower goal re-engagement. Discussion: Results have implications for how we conceptualize the combined effects of age-related gains and losses on developmental outcomes relevant to adaptive aging. Furthermore, perceptions of future time with advancing age may be implicated in processes linking AARC with goal adjustment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1189-1197
Number of pages9
JournalAging and Mental Health
Volume26
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • goal flexibility
  • self-regulation
  • Subjective aging

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