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Soc Sci Res. 2011 Jan 1;40(1):392-398.

Does Psychological Well-Being Change with Age?: Longitudinal Tests of Age Variations and Further Exploration of the Multidimensionality of Ryff's Model of Psychological Well-Being.


Using two population-based surveys, we provide the first test of longitudinal age variations in Ryff's scales of psychological well-being (RPWB) across three midlife to later-life transitions. Through these analyses we explore: (a) age variation in RPWB, (b) the structure of RPWB, and (c) the potential for methodologically driven age patterns. In general, RPWB dimensions do not consistently exhibit distinct age profiles; further, longitudinal age variations are exceptionally small, never accounting for more than four percent of the variance. We observe far greater variation within ages or periods than between subscales across age or time - providing strong evidence against substantively different age profiles of RPWB. Moreover, heterogeneity among positively and negatively worded items yield varied age patterns indicating that age variations of RWPB could be driven, at least in part, by methodological artifacts rather than maturation.

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