The Relevance of Control Beliefs for Health and Aging

age dIfferences and changes

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age dIfferences and changes

In control BelIefs
The general pattern of research findings suggests that with aging the sense of control declines (
Lachman & firth, 2004; Lachman & Weaver, a mirowsky & Ross, 2007
). It is perhaps not surprising that in the face of increased losses and decreased gains associated with aging (Baltes, 2006), the sense of control would wane. Indeed, many of the changes that accompany aging are not controllable. The age trends for control beliefs typically show an increase in early adulthood, with a peak in midlife, and a leveling off with a subsequent decline in later life (Lachman,
2009; mirowsky & Ross, 2007
). What is also noteworthy is the wide range of individual differences in beliefs about control over aging within age groups
Lachman, 2006
) as well as the intraindividual variability in beliefs overtime (
eizenman et al., Older adults on average seem to maintain their overall sense of mastery (beliefs about one’s ability or self-efficacy), perhaps because they adjust the salient domains or the standards that they use to define their competence (
Bandura, 1997
). With aging, we see mainly a loss of perceived control associated with an increasing acknowledgement of the constraints and limitations due to uncontrollable factors or to reduced contingency between actions and outcomes

Lachman & firth, 2004

). These age differences in control beliefs seem to occur mainly because older adults experience fewer opportunities for control and more control-limiting situations.
Although the sense of control generally shows a downward trajectory with aging, a more nuanced view shows the story is more complex, and what changes and when depends on multiple factors such

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