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Psychol Aging. 1990 Dec;5(4):607-9.

When bad things happen to older people: age differences in attributional style.

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Department of Psychology, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts 02254-9110.


This study expanded on earlier attributional work with the elderly by examining age differences in the generality, as well as the locus and stability, of causes for bad events and the relationship of these attributions to self-reported health. One hundred twenty young (mean age = 18.3) and elderly (mean age = 74.39) adults rated the internality, stability, and globality of causes for good and bad events using the Attributional Style Questionnaire (Peterson et al., 1982). Older adults were more likely than younger adults to see bad events as being due to stable and specific factors. Older adults who attributed negative outcomes to more internal and global factors also reported their health to be poorer than that of others.

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