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Time since birth and time left to live: opposing forces in constructing psychological wellbeing


Demiray, Burcu; Bluck, Susan (2014). Time since birth and time left to live: opposing forces in constructing psychological wellbeing. Ageing & Society, 34(7):1193-1218.

Abstract

Ageing, by definition, involves moving across lived time. Grounded in developmental psychology, particularly lifespan developmental theory, this study examines two time- related factors that may affect psychological wellbeing in adulthood. Particularly, chronological age and perceived time left to live (i.e. future time perspective) are predicted to act as opposing forces in the construction of psychological wellbeing. Young (N=285, 19-29 years) and middle-aged adults (N=135, 14-64 years) self- reported their current psychological wellbeing (across six dimensions) and their sense of future time perspective. As predicted, mediation analyses show that higher levels of chronological age (being in midlife), and having a more open-ended, positive future time perspective are both related to higher psychological wellbeing. Note, however, that being in midlife is related to a more limited and negative future time perspective. As such, confirming our conceptual argument, while both age and future perspective are measures of time in a general sense, analyses show that they act as unique, opposing forces in the construction of psychological wellbeing. The current research suggests that individuals can optimise psychological wellbeing to the extent that they maintain an open-ended and positive sense of the future.

Ageing, by definition, involves moving across lived time. Grounded in developmental psychology, particularly lifespan developmental theory, this study examines two time- related factors that may affect psychological wellbeing in adulthood. Particularly, chronological age and perceived time left to live (i.e. future time perspective) are predicted to act as opposing forces in the construction of psychological wellbeing. Young (N=285, 19-29 years) and middle-aged adults (N=135, 14-64 years) self- reported their current psychological wellbeing (across six dimensions) and their sense of future time perspective. As predicted, mediation analyses show that higher levels of chronological age (being in midlife), and having a more open-ended, positive future time perspective are both related to higher psychological wellbeing. Note, however, that being in midlife is related to a more limited and negative future time perspective. As such, confirming our conceptual argument, while both age and future perspective are measures of time in a general sense, analyses show that they act as unique, opposing forces in the construction of psychological wellbeing. The current research suggests that individuals can optimise psychological wellbeing to the extent that they maintain an open-ended and positive sense of the future.

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9 citations in Web of Science®
4 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:07 Nov 2013 15:28
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:06
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:0144-686X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0144686X13000032
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-84320

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