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Aging Ment Health. 2014 Jul;18(5):653-61. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2013.869545. Epub 2013 Dec 20.

Predictors of subjective age in people aged 40-79 years: a five-year follow-up study. The impact of mastery, mental and physical health.

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a Institute of Physiotherapy , Oslo and Akershus University College for Applied Sciences (HIOA) , Oslo , Norway.



Assessing subjective age perception (SAP) and changes in SAP as well as exploring which variables of socio-demographic, health and personal mastery independently predicted SAP.


The panel data are from two waves of the Norwegian Study on the Life Course, Ageing and Generations (NorLAG). Our sample consists of 2471 people aged 40-79 years at baseline who were surveyed in 2002/2003 (T1) and 2007/2008 (T2). Univariate and multiple regressions were performed; multivariate analyses assessing the relative importance of the independent variables (at T1) for the SAP at T2.


Older chronological age, good physical health, good mental health, a high level of personal mastery and having lower education significantly predicted a youthful SAP. For the whole sample, older age and a high level of personal mastery were the most important predictors. For those aged 40-49 being a man, having lower education, good physical health and high personal mastery predicted a younger SAP, whereas in the group aged 50-59 years being married/cohabiting and having a high level of education were predictors of an older SAP. For those aged 60-69, high personal mastery was the only independent predictor of a younger SAP. For those aged 70-79 years, only health - good mental and physical health - independently predicted a younger SAP.


Most respondents feel younger than their chronological age, the more the older they are. Self-rated physical and mental health and personal mastery are associated with SAP and vary in different age groups.


longitudinal panel study; mental and physical health; personal mastery; subjective age perception

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