Older People with Positive Aging Outlook More Likely to Recover from Disability,
Posted Feb 04 2013 9:00am
Older people who embrace positive stereotypes about aging are more
likely than those who hold negative stereotypes to recover after
suffering from disability, a new study by the Yale School of Public
Health has found.
Lead researcher Becca R. Levy and Yale
colleagues showed that, of two groups with differing views of aging, the
individuals in the positive age stereotype group were 44 percent more
likely to recover from a severe disability. Participants included 598
individuals who were at least 70 years old and free of disability at the
start of the study. They were selected from a health plan in greater
New Haven, Connecticut.
The association between positive age
stereotypes and recovery from disability in older persons has not been
previously studied. The findings suggest that interventions to promote
positive age stereotypes could extend independent living later in life.
result suggests that how the old view their aging process could have an
effect on how they experience it,” said Levy, associate professor of
epidemiology and psychology and director of the Social and Behavioral
Sciences Division at the School of Public Health. “In previous studies,
we have found that older individuals with positive age stereotypes tend
to show lower cardiovascular response to stress and they tend to engage
in healthier activities, which may help to explain our current
Recovery was based on being able to perform four
activities of daily living: bathing, dressing, moving from a chair, and
walking. Doing well in these activities is associated with less use of
health-care facilities and longer life expectancy. The study adjusted
for a number of factors, including participants’ age and education.
In my keynote, The Meaning of Life, one the eight points I make is about keeping a positive attitude. The older people I know who are living a quality of life (no matter what the setting) are those who have a great attitude.