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Main Title: Cohort Differences in Psychosocial Function over 20 Years: Current Older Adults Feel Less Lonely and Less Dependent on External Circumstances
Author(s): Hülür, Gizem
Drewelies, Johanna
Eibich, Peter
Düzel, Sandra
Demuth, Ilja
Ghisletta, Paolo
Steinhagen-Thiessen, Elisabeth
Wagner, Gert G.
Lindenberger, Ulman
Gerstorf, Denis
Type: Article
Language Code: en
Abstract: Background: Lifespan psychological and life course sociological perspectives indicate that individual development is shaped by social and historical circumstances. Increases in fluid cognitive performance over the last century are well documented and researchers have begun examining historical trends in personality and subjective well-being in old age. Relatively less is known about secular changes in other key components of psychosocial function among older adults. Objective: In the present study, we examined cohort differences in key components of psychosocial function, including subjective age, control beliefs, and perceived social integration, as indicated by loneliness and availability of very close others. Methods: We compared data obtained 20 years apart in the Berlin Aging Study (in 1990-1993) and the Berlin Aging Study II (in 2013-2014) and identified case-matched cohort groups based on age, gender, cohort-normed education, and marital or partner status (n = 153 in each cohort, mean age = 75 years). In follow-up analyses, we controlled for having lived in former East versus West Germany, physical diseases, cohort-normed household income, cognitive performance, and the presence of a religious affiliation. Results: Consistently across analyses, we found that, relative to the earlier-born BASE cohort (year of birth: mean = 1916; SD = 3.38 years; range = 1901-1922), participants in the BASE-II sample (year of birth: mean = 1939; SD = 3.22 years; range = 1925-1949) reported lower levels of external control beliefs (d = -1.01) and loneliness (d = -0.63). Cohorts did not differ in subjective age, availability of very close others, and internal control beliefs. Conclusion: Taken together, our findings suggest that some aspects of psychosocial function of older adults have improved across the two recent decades. We discuss the possible role of sociocultural factors that might have led to the observed set of cohort differences.
Issue Date: 2016
Date Available: 26-Oct-2017
DDC Class: 610 Medizin, Gesundheit
Subject(s): cohort
subjective age
control beliefs
sociocultural factors|individual differences
Berlin aging Study
Berlinaging study II
Usage rights: Terms of German Copyright Law
Journal Title: Gerontology
Publisher: Karger
Publisher Place: Basel, München
Volume: 62
Issue: 3
Publisher DOI: 10.1159/000438991
Page Start: 354
Page End: 361
EISSN: 1423-0003
ISSN: 0304-324X
Notes: Dieser Beitrag ist mit Zustimmung des Rechteinhabers aufgrund einer (DFG geförderten) Allianz- bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich.
This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.
Appears in Collections:Fachgebiet Empirische Wirtschaftsforschung und Wirtschaftspolitik » Publications

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