Perceived Control and Social Activity in Midlife and Older Age: A Reciprocal Association? Findings from the German Ageing Survey

Rachel G. Curtis, Oliver Huxhold, Tim D. Windsor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives Perceived control may promote social activity in older adults because individuals with greater perceived control have greater confidence in their ability to achieve outcomes and are more likely to choose difficult activities, show persistence, and employ strategies to overcome challenges. Cross-sectional research has linked perceived control with social activity in life span and older adult samples but provides little insight into the direction of influence. We examined reciprocal associations between perceived control and social activity in order to establish temporal sequencing, which is one prerequisite for determining potential causation. Method Participants were 14,126 midlife and older adults from the German Ageing Survey. Using cross-lagged autoregressive modeling with age as the time metric (40-87 years), we examined reciprocal 3-year lagged associations between perceived control and social activity, while controlling for concurrent associations. Results Perceived control significantly predicted social activity 3 years later. Reciprocally, social activity significantly predicted perceived control 3 years later. The influence of perceived control on social activity was greater than the influence of social activity on perceived control. Discussion The finding that perceived control significantly predicts future social activity has potential implications for developing interventions aimed at promoting social activity in midlife and older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)807-815
Number of pages9
JournalJournals of Gerontology Series B - Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume73
Issue number5
Early online date17 Jun 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

Keywords

  • Autoregressive
  • Control beliefs
  • Cross-lagged
  • Social engagement

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