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Linking possible selves and behavior: do domain-specific hopes and fears translate into daily activities in very old age?

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Hoppmann, C.A., D. Gerstorf, Jacqui E. Smith, and P.L. Klumb. 2007. "Linking possible selves and behavior: do domain-specific hopes and fears translate into daily activities in very old age?" Journals of Gerontology B: Psychological and Social Sciences, 62(2): P104-11.

We used time-sampling information from a subsample of the Berlin Aging Study (N=83; M=81.1 years) to investigate the link between possible selves in three domains (health, everyday cognition, and social relations) and performance of daily activities. In the domains of health and social relations, hoped-for selves were associated with higher probabilities of performing daily activities in those domains. There were no associations in the cognitive domain or between feared selves and activities. Individuals who engaged in hope-related activities reported concurrent higher positive affect and subsequently had a higher probability of survival over a 10-year period. These findings speak to important associations between beliefs about possible selves and activities in advanced old age and the value of considering associations between microlevel and macrolevel indicators of successful aging.

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