Association of Chronic Diseases and Functional Limitations with Subjective Age: The Mediating Role of Sense of Control.

TitleAssociation of Chronic Diseases and Functional Limitations with Subjective Age: The Mediating Role of Sense of Control.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsPrasad, A, Shellito, N, Miller, EAlan, Burr, JA
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology, Series B
ISSN Number1758-5368
KeywordsChronic conditions, Felt age, functional impairment, Perceived age

OBJECTIVES: This study examined the relationships between chronic diseases, functional limitations, sense of control, and subjective age. Older adults may evaluate their subjective age by reference to their younger healthier selves and thus health and functional status are likely to be determinants of subjective age. Although sense of control is also a potential predictor of subjective age, stress-inducing factors associated with disease and functional limitations may reduce older adults' sense of control, making them feel older.

METHODS: Using the 2010 and 2014 waves of the Health and Retirement Study, structural equation modeling was performed on a sample of 6,329 respondents older than 50 years to determine if sense of control mediated the relationship between chronic diseases, limitations in instrumental/basic activities of daily living (ADLs, IADLs), and subjective age.

RESULTS: Chronic diseases and limitations in ADLs had a positive, direct association with subjective age (β=0.037, p=.005; β=0.068, p=.001, respectively). In addition, chronic diseases and limitations in ADLs and IADLs were positively, indirectly associated with subjective age via a diminished sense of control (β=0.006, p=.000; β=0.007, p=.003; β=0.019, p=.000, respectively).

DISCUSSION: As predicted by the Deterioration Model, the findings showed that chronic diseases and functional impairment are associated with older adults feeling older by challenging the psychological resource of sense of control. Appropriate interventions for dealing with health challenges and preserving sense of control may help prevent the adverse downstream effects of older subjective age.

Citation Key12637
PubMed ID35995574