2021Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/26063
Longitudinal Associations between Perceived Stress and Views on Aging: Evidence for Reciprocal Relations
Views on aging (VoA) are meaningful predictors of well-being, health, cognitive impairment, and mortality. One underlying pathway could be that negative VoA promote perceived stress. However, little is known about the role of stress perceptions as an antecedent of personal VoA. In this study, we therefore investigated the longitudinal reciprocal association between perceived stress and three established constructs representing personal VoA: (a) subjective age; (b) attitude toward own aging (ATOA); and (c) aging-related cognitions comprising social loss, physical decline, and continuous growth. We also examined whether these associations are moderated by chronological age. Two adjacent measurement occasions (2014 and 2017) of the German Ageing Survey with 4,588 individuals aged between 40 and 95 years were analyzed. Cross-lagged models controlling for VoA and perceived stress at baseline, chronological age, subjective health, depressive symptoms, education, gender, region of residence, and year of individual study entry revealed significant reciprocal longitudinal relations between VoA and perceived stress. For three of the five VoA indicators, the pathway from perceived stress to subsequent VoA was of the same magnitude as the reversed pathway. With increasing chronological age, ATOA was less strongly associated with subsequent stress perceptions. Moreover, the impact of higher perceived stress on an older subjective age was weaker with advancing age. In conclusion, the trend in prior subjective aging research to conceptualize stress in midlife and old age exclusively as a consequence of VoA needs reconsideration, as higher perceived stress levels also seem to be a risk factor for less favorable personal VoA.
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