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Age patterns in mental representations of time: underlying constructs and relevant covariates


Rutt, Joshua L; Löckenhoff, Corinna E (2016). Age patterns in mental representations of time: underlying constructs and relevant covariates. Experimental Aging Research, 42(3):289-306.

Abstract

Background/Study Context: Research suggests that mental representations of time encompass multiple distinct aspects that vary with age, but prior studies rarely assessed more than one aspect of time perception and did not systematically consider relevant covariates. This lack of integration across studies hampers theory building and limits a deeper understanding of underlying constructs. Methods: Five widely used and conceptually distinct measures of time perception (i.e., perceived life position, global future horizons, future orientation and planning, self-continuity, and the temporal extension of episodic future thought) were administered to a demographically stratified adult life-span sample. Theoretically implicated covariates, including cognition, current affect, personality, and subjective health, were also assessed. Results: Principle component analyses suggested a four-component solution. Perceived life position and global future horizons formed a single component reflecting subjective life span; the remaining measures each constituted separate components. The life span component and episodic future thought were negatively associated with age, self-continuity was positively associated with age, and future orientation did not vary by age. Among the covariates, mental and physical health showed the most pronounced associations with time perceptions, but the direction of effects varied across components. Conclusion: Findings suggest that mental representations of time encompass multiple components that show distinct age patterns and associations with covariates. Implications for theory building and practical applications are discussed.

Abstract

Background/Study Context: Research suggests that mental representations of time encompass multiple distinct aspects that vary with age, but prior studies rarely assessed more than one aspect of time perception and did not systematically consider relevant covariates. This lack of integration across studies hampers theory building and limits a deeper understanding of underlying constructs. Methods: Five widely used and conceptually distinct measures of time perception (i.e., perceived life position, global future horizons, future orientation and planning, self-continuity, and the temporal extension of episodic future thought) were administered to a demographically stratified adult life-span sample. Theoretically implicated covariates, including cognition, current affect, personality, and subjective health, were also assessed. Results: Principle component analyses suggested a four-component solution. Perceived life position and global future horizons formed a single component reflecting subjective life span; the remaining measures each constituted separate components. The life span component and episodic future thought were negatively associated with age, self-continuity was positively associated with age, and future orientation did not vary by age. Among the covariates, mental and physical health showed the most pronounced associations with time perceptions, but the direction of effects varied across components. Conclusion: Findings suggest that mental representations of time encompass multiple components that show distinct age patterns and associations with covariates. Implications for theory building and practical applications are discussed.

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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:12 April 2016
Deposited On:23 May 2016 15:41
Last Modified:04 Aug 2017 00:51
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0361-073X
Additional Information:This is an accepted manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Experimental Aging Research on April, 12th 2016, available online: http://wwww.tandfonline.com/10.1080/0361073X.2016.1156975.
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/0361073X.2016.1156975
PubMed ID:27070047

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