Background: Looking younger than actual age has been related to a variety of health outcomes. Optimism, self- esteem, and relationship satisfaction are important psychosocial resources for mental health. Little is known about their relation with a younger facial appearance.
Objective: This study analyzed whether these psychosocial resources are associated with a younger facial appearance and if their effects were mediated through mental health.
Method: A sample of N = 223 self-reporting healthy men aged 40 to 75 years filled in questionnaires to assess optimism (Life Orientation Test–Revised), self-esteem (Multidimensional Self-Esteem Scale), relationship satisfaction (Relationship Assessment Scale), and mental health (Short-Form Health Survey). Five female raters estimated the visual age of each participant from a frontal face photograph.
Results: Looking younger (compared with chronological age) was correlated with optimism, relationship satisfaction, and mental health. Mediation analyses and structural equation modeling indicated that mental health mediated the association between each psychosocial resource and a younger appearance. Discussion: The results emphasize the importance of promoting psychosocial resources and mental health in men 40+ for the maintenance of good health and the deceleration of facial aging.