Education and Psychosocial Functioning Among Older Adults: 4-Year Change in Sense of Control and Hopelessness

TitleEducation and Psychosocial Functioning Among Older Adults: 4-Year Change in Sense of Control and Hopelessness
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsMitchell, UA, Ailshire, JA, Brown, L, Levine, ME, Crimmins, EM
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Date Published07/2018

Objectives: This study investigates education differences in levels and change in sense of control and hopelessness among older adults.Method: We used data from the Health and Retirement Study, an ongoing biennial survey of a nationally representative sample of older Americans, to examine education differences in sense of control (e.g., mastery and perceived constraints) and hopelessness. Our sample included 8,495 adults aged 52 and older who were interviewed in 2006/2008 and 2010/2012. We assessed separate models for change in sense of control and hopelessness, accounting for recent changes in social circumstances and health status.Results: Low mastery, perceived constraints, and hopelessness were highest among individuals with less than a high school education. Over a 4-year period, this group experienced the greatest declines in psychosocial functioning, as indicated by greater increases in low mastery, perceived constraints, and hopelessness. Education differences existed net of recent negative experiences, specifically the loss of intimate social relationships and social support and increases in disease and disability.Discussion: These findings highlight the importance of education for sense of control and hopelessness in older adulthood and demonstrate the cumulative advantage of higher levels of education for psychosocial functioning.

Endnote Keywords

Health and Retirement Study/Longitudinal analysis/Mastery/Perceived constraints

Endnote ID


Citation Key6510
PubMed ID27013537