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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2001 Nov;56(6):P364-73.

The personal experience of aging, individual resources, and subjective well-being.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.


The personal experience of aging, the resources relevant to it, and the consequences for subjective well-being were investigated in a sample of 4034 Germans aged 40 to 85. The data revealed 3 dimensions of aging experiences as particularly relevant: (a) physical decline, (b) continuous growth, and (c) social loss. Not only being younger but also having better subjective health, higher income, less loneliness, higher education, and greater hope were negatively associated with physical decline and social loss and positively associated with continuous growth. The number of children participants had played no role. All three dimensions of the aging experience were also found to be related to both positive and negative affect and, with the exception of physical decline, to life satisfaction.

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