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A study recently published in JAMA Network Open describes that adults with higher aging satisfaction have a greater possibility of improved health and well-being later in life.
Julia S Nakamura, from the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, and colleagues describe that interventions that improve aging satisfaction may have the potential to improve a wide range of health and well-being outcomes in this rapidly growing population of older adults.
In this study, the researchers also found that participants with the highest aging satisfaction score at baseline had improved physical health, better health behaviors and improved psychosocial well-being after follow-up than their lowest-scoring counterparts. Specifically, a 43% reduced risk for mortality, 23% increased likelihood of frequent physical activity, higher positive affect and lower loneliness than at baseline were noted. Moreover, participants with high aging satisfaction scores experienced enhanced life satisfaction, optimism, purpose in life, health mastery and financial mastery; as well as lower risk of depression, lower depressive symptoms, lower hopelessness and negative effect.
Higher aging satisfaction was also described to be associated with fewer chronic conditions and fewer sleep problems.
Becca R Levy, a Professor of Public Health and Psychology at the Yale Institute for Global Health, described the root cause of the relationship between negative age beliefs and health outcomes can be called structural ageism.
Research on aging satisfaction is necessary:
- To derive a basis for recognizing that adverse health conditions in later life may not be entirely owing to aging
- To understand the structural ageism cause of negative age beliefs which will help in developing effective interventions to mitigate the negativity of these beliefs, which may be shapeable
- To support the hypothesis that improvements in the health of older persons could follow from policy innovations that disassemble structural ageism.