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The curvilinear relationship of early-life adversity and successful aging: the mediating role of mental health


Höltge, Jan; Mc Gee, Shauna L; Thoma, Myriam V (2019). The curvilinear relationship of early-life adversity and successful aging: the mediating role of mental health. Aging & Mental Health, 23(5):608-617.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: The steeling effect suggests that early-life adversity can have a beneficial impact later in life. However, little is known about its underlying mechanisms and long-term outcomes . The study aimed to examine the role of early-life adversity (ELA) on successful aging, and whether this relationship can be explained by mental and physical health.

METHOD: Socio-demographics, early-life adversity (ELA), individual quality of life (iQoL), and mental and physical health of 270 individuals (M = 66.82 years, 71.5% female) were assessed. Polynomial regressions and mediation analyses were conducted.

RESULTS: Significant inverse U-shaped associations were found between ELA and iQoL (β = -.59, p = .005) and between ELA and mental health (β = -.64, p = .002), but not between ELA and physical health. Furthermore, mental health significantly mediated the relationship between ELA and iQoL (b = -.84, BCa CI [-1.66, -.27]).

CONCLUSION: Highest level of individual quality of life (i.e. successful aging) was related to a moderate amount of ELA. Additionally, mental health significantly mediated this relationship. These findings suggest that some amount of ELA could be beneficial for successful aging. Resource-focused interventions are needed to improve health and promote successful aging for an underdetected, at-risk subgroup with low early-life adversity.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: The steeling effect suggests that early-life adversity can have a beneficial impact later in life. However, little is known about its underlying mechanisms and long-term outcomes . The study aimed to examine the role of early-life adversity (ELA) on successful aging, and whether this relationship can be explained by mental and physical health.

METHOD: Socio-demographics, early-life adversity (ELA), individual quality of life (iQoL), and mental and physical health of 270 individuals (M = 66.82 years, 71.5% female) were assessed. Polynomial regressions and mediation analyses were conducted.

RESULTS: Significant inverse U-shaped associations were found between ELA and iQoL (β = -.59, p = .005) and between ELA and mental health (β = -.64, p = .002), but not between ELA and physical health. Furthermore, mental health significantly mediated the relationship between ELA and iQoL (b = -.84, BCa CI [-1.66, -.27]).

CONCLUSION: Highest level of individual quality of life (i.e. successful aging) was related to a moderate amount of ELA. Additionally, mental health significantly mediated this relationship. These findings suggest that some amount of ELA could be beneficial for successful aging. Resource-focused interventions are needed to improve health and promote successful aging for an underdetected, at-risk subgroup with low early-life adversity.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
08 Research Priority Programs > Dynamics of Healthy Aging
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:DoktoratPsych Erstautor
Language:English
Date:4 May 2019
Deposited On:06 Sep 2018 10:24
Last Modified:01 May 2019 01:03
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1360-7863
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2018.1433635
PubMed ID:29447460
Project Information:
  • : FunderJacobs Foundation
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title

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