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Psychological Resources for Healthy Longevity Cross-Sectional Analyses of Subjective Well-Being in the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Study (CLHLS). Jacqui Smith Denis Gerstorf Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin Li Qiang

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slide1

Psychological Resources for Healthy Longevity

Cross-Sectional Analyses of Subjective Well-Being

in the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Study (CLHLS)

Jacqui Smith Denis Gerstorf

Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin

Li Qiang

Institute of Population Research, Peking University

slide2

A Psychological Approach to Healthy Longevity

  • Psychological resources linked to sustaining subjective well-being contribute to:
  • survival in very old age

Psychological resources underlie behavior, decision-making, and adaptation to social losses,

physical illness, disability, and functional impairment

  • psychological health
  • Older individuals high in psychological resources that maximize positive well-being and protect against or minimize negative well-being function well in everyday life and can age with dignity

Smith, Gerstorf & Li, 2004

slide3

Why Do We Consider Two Sides of Well-Being?

  • Subjective well-being is multifaceted.
  • Different psychological processes and outcomes are linked to the positive and negative components.
  • Positive Side of Well-Being

e.g., happiness, hope, contentment, trust, interest

  • processes thatmaintain, broaden, and build
  • outcomes: vitality, everyday competence, autonomy,
  • enhanced immune system
  • Negative Side of Well-Being
  • e.g., sadness, worry, anger, fear, boredom
  • processes oflethargy, flight, or fight
  • outcomes: chronic stress, depression, isolation,
  • physiological dysfunction

Smith, Gerstorf & Li, 2004

slide4

Optimal

Resources for Well-Being: Optimal vs. Less-Functional

Maximize Positive

Minimize

Negative

A well-functioning (healthy) psychological system is characterized by an integrated balance of psychological resources that maximize positive well-being and minimize negative well-being

Smith, Gerstorf & Li, 2004

slide5

Psychological Measures Included in the CLHLS

Estimates of Resource Potential for Well-Being

Potential to Maximize Positive Well-Being (4 items, 5-point response scale)

OptimismDo you always look on the bright side of things?

ConscientiousnessDo you like to keep your belongings neat and clean?

Personal ControlCan you make your own decisions about your personal affairs?

HappinessAre you just as happy now as when you were younger?

Potential to Minimize Negative Well-Being (3 items, 5-point response scale)

Note: To estimate these resources we reverse coded all item responses.

Low NeuroticismDo you often feel fearful or anxious?

Low LonelinessDo you often feel lonely and isolated?

High Self-WorthDo you feel that the older you get, the more useless you are?

Smith, Gerstorf & Li, 2004

structure of resources for positive and against negative well being
Structure of Resources For Positive and Against Negative Well-Being

T1:1998

N = 8805

Optimism

.62

.62

.51

Conscientiousness

.74

Positive

.43

Sense of Personal Control

.81

.55

Happiness

.33

.70

(.21)

.61

Lo Neuroticism

.63

Lack of Negative

.73

Lo Loneliness

.46

.46

RMSEA = .054NFI = .95

High Self-Worth

.79

Note: Differences in item format 1998 - 2000 did not alter the factor structure significantly.

Smith, Gerstorf & Li, 2004

slide7

Analytic Strategy

  • Cross-Sectional Analyses (Baseline, 1998)
  • Focus on selectivity analyses and age cohort comparisons of responses to well-being items
  • If psychological resources for well-being contribute to healthy longevity:
  • Survivors in the 2-year longitudinal sample > mortality dropouts
  • Centenarians more positively selected for psychological resources than octogenarians
  • Minimal age cohort differences in the 2-year longitudinal sample at baseline assessment
  • Beyond age: cognitive fitness and engagement in life activities should be related to individual differences in potential for well-being

Smith, Gerstorf & Li, 2004

slide8

2-Year Longitudinal "Survivor" Sample at 1998

The 2-year CLHLS sample (N = 4691)

Missing psychological data 3% - 7% at T1; 9% to 15% at T2

Missings primarily due to poor hearing, vision, cognitive impairment

We used N = 4006 complete longitudinal psychological data (1998 & 2000)

Mean age = 89.3 years; 56% women

Smith, Gerstorf & Li, 2004

slide9

Evidence for Psychological Aspects of Healthy Longevity (1)

Participants in CLHLS 2-year longitudinal sample

had a high potential for well-being (N = 4006)

% High on Resources for Positive Well-Being

87% Conscientiousness

80% Optimism

64% Personal Control

53% Happiness

% High on Resources Against Negative Well-Being

76% Low Neuroticism

72% Low Loneliness

41% High Self-Worth

Note. High = % responding that item is a "good / very good" description of themselves.

Smith, Gerstorf & Li, 2004

slide10

Evidence for Psychological Aspects of Healthy Longevity (2)

At Baseline (1998), the 2-year Longitudinal Survivors (N = 4006)had a Higher Potential for Well-Being than the "Dropouts” (N = 4114)

Substantial Effects for Resources linked to Positive Well-Being

Effect Sizes in SD units

0.5

1.0

0.5

1.0

Conscientiousness

Positive

Resources

Optimism

Control

Happiness

Negative

Resources

Lo Neuroticism

Lo Loneliness

Hi Self-Worth

Smith, Gerstorf & Li, 2004

slide11

80 - 84

80 - 84

85 - 89

85 - 89

90 - 94

90 - 94

95 - 99

95 - 99

100+

100+

Evidence for Psychological Aspects of Healthy Longevity (3)

At Baseline (1998), the Potential for Well-Being was Higher in the Older Age Cohorts (Positive Selectivity Effect)

Effect Sizes in SD units

0.5

1.0

Positive

Resources

Negative

Resources

Within Age Cohort Comparisons

2-year Longitudinal Participants (N = 4006) vs. "Mortality Dropouts” (N = 4114)

Smith, Gerstorf & Li, 2004

slide12

Profile of Well-Being Resources: Majority Were Optimal

Resources for Positive

64%

Resources against Negative

A well-functioning (healthy) psychological system is characterized by an integrated balance of psychological resources that maximize positive well-being and minimize negative well-being

Smith, Gerstorf & Li, 2004

slide13

Evidence for Psychological Aspects of Healthy Longevity (4)

Minimal Age Cohort Differences in Psychological Resources

At Baseline (1998) in the 2-year Longitudinal Sample

Note however that individual differences were substantial at all ages

Describes me....

Always

5

Conscientiousness

Often

4

Optimism

Control

Happiness

Sometimes

3

Neuroticism

Seldom

2

Loneliness

Self-Worth

Never

1

80 - 84

85 - 89

90 - 94

95 - 99

100+

Smith, Gerstorf & Li, 2004

slide14

4

3.5

3

2.5

2

1.5

1

80

85

90

95

100

105

Well-Being Was Relatively High…..But

This CLHLS sample was positively selected for well-being

Change in the negative side of well-being may be death-related

Describes me ...

Optimism

Often

Conscientiousness

Personal Control

Happiness

Sometimes

Seldom

Neuroticism

Loneliness

Self-Worth

Age 2000 - Age 2002

Gerstorf, Li, & Smith 2004

slide15

5

4

Positive Well-Being (max = 5)

3

2

1

98

99

100

101

102

103

104

105

106

107

108

109

110

111

112

Well-Being Was Relatively High…..But

There were substantial individual differences in amount and direction of change in well-being

e.g., some individual change trajectories in cognitively fit centenarians

Age 2000 - Age 2002

Gerstorf, Li, & Smith 2004

slide16

Moderators of 2-Year Change in Well-Being

  • Regression analyses predicting change revealed:
  • Age cohort effects eliminated if analyses restricted to cognitively fit participants (n = 855)
  • After partialing out level of well-being at 2000, cognitive fitness, engagement in life activities, social context (number of living children) and living in the city uniquely attenuated change in the positive side of well-being (R2 = 7%)
  • After partialing out level of well-being at 2000, only gender uniquely attenuated change in the negative side of well-being (R2 = 2%):

Women changed more than men

Gerstorf, Li, & Smith 2004

slide17

Psychological Resources for Well-Being are Associated with Healthy Longevity

  • Survivors in the 2-year longitudinal sample > mortality dropouts

This finding needs to be followed-up with survival analyses

  • Centenarians were more positively selected for psychological resources than 80-year-olds

Resources for positive well-being may be especially sensitive indicators of the potential for healthy longevity in old age

  • Minimal age cohort differences in the 2-year longitudinal sample at baseline assessment

This is contrary to expectations given negative age differences in physical health, disability and functional impairment

  • Potential for well-being is multidimensional and integrated with cognitive fitness, engagement in life activities, and social context

Smith, Gerstorf & Li, 2004