The authors of this study wanted to examine successful aging, specifically when it comes to physical, cognitive, and psychological variables. Successful aging has not been conclusively defined, and its definition largely varies study to study. In general however, it is considered successful if the individual is able to function well into old age.
One of the ways this is measured is through the use of the Self-Rated Successful Aging (SRSA) questionnaire. This examines an individual’s psychological functioning and overall health. In previous research it was found that positive psychological traits apparently interact with self-evaluations of physical and mental health. In the present study, they hypothesized that older age would be associated with worse physical and cognitive functioning and lower SRSA scores, that SRSA would be positively related to physical, cognitive, and mental functioning, and to positive psychological traits, and physical and mental (but not cognitive) functioning and positive psychological traits would predict SRSA scores.
To do this, they conducted a phone interview of 1006 adults aged 50-99, followed by a survey that measured physical, cognitive, and psychological variables, as well as SRSA and psychological traits.
They found that older age was associated with higher SRSA, meaning individuals rated their aging as being more successful, despite worsening physical and cognitive functioning. The significant contributing factors were found to be resilience, depression, physical functioning, and age. This has applications in the psychiatric field, as it indicates that mental health plays a key role in the attitudes the elderly have of themselves.
So my questions are:
1. 1. The use of a self-report index was brought up as a limitation to this study. Do you think that utilizing self-report data is valuable and valid? If not, how do we get around this?
2. 2. Given what we know from this study and that the population is aging, what can be done to improve the success of this process?
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