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J Health Psychol. 2009 Apr;14(3):447-56. doi: 10.1177/1359105309102201.

Affective forecasting and advance care planning: anticipating quality of life in future health statuses.

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  • 1Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA. Laraine.Winter@Jefferson.edu

Abstract

That sicker people evaluate quality of life in future health status more positively, compared to healthier people, is viewed as an instance of affective forecasting error and explained by Prospect Theory, which holds that two prospects (poor health vs death) are more distinguishable when they are imminent than when distant. In a sample of 230 elderly people, we tested whether life in nine health scenarios would be more acceptable to less healthy individuals than to healthier ones. An interaction between current health status and health scenario supported the relative acceptability of poor-health prospects to sicker individuals, confirming the hypothesis.

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