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Perceptions of Aging Across 26 Cultures and Their Culture-Level Associates

Perceptions of Aging Across 26 Cultures and Their Culture-Level Associates College students (N = 3,435) in 26 cultures reported their perceptions of age-related changes in physical, cognitive, and socioemotional areas of functioning and rated societal views of aging within their culture. There was widespread cross-cultural consensus regarding the expected direction of aging trajectories with (a) perceived declines in societal views of aging, physical attractiveness, the ability to perform everyday tasks, and new learning; (b) perceived increases in wisdom, knowledge, and received respect; and (c) perceived stability in family authority and life satisfaction. Cross-cultural variations in aging perceptions were associated with culture-level indicators of population aging, education levels, values, and national character stereotypes. These associations were stronger for societal views on aging and perceptions of socioemotional changes than for perceptions of physical and cognitive changes. A consideration of culture-level variables also suggested that previously reported differences in aging perceptions between Asian and Western countries may be related to differences in population structure. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Psychology and Aging American Psychological Association

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Publisher
American Psychological Association
Copyright
Copyright ©
ISSN
0882-7974
eISSN
1939-1498
DOI
10.1037/a0016901
pmid
20025408
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

College students (N = 3,435) in 26 cultures reported their perceptions of age-related changes in physical, cognitive, and socioemotional areas of functioning and rated societal views of aging within their culture. There was widespread cross-cultural consensus regarding the expected direction of aging trajectories with (a) perceived declines in societal views of aging, physical attractiveness, the ability to perform everyday tasks, and new learning; (b) perceived increases in wisdom, knowledge, and received respect; and (c) perceived stability in family authority and life satisfaction. Cross-cultural variations in aging perceptions were associated with culture-level indicators of population aging, education levels, values, and national character stereotypes. These associations were stronger for societal views on aging and perceptions of socioemotional changes than for perceptions of physical and cognitive changes. A consideration of culture-level variables also suggested that previously reported differences in aging perceptions between Asian and Western countries may be related to differences in population structure.

Journal

Psychology and AgingAmerican Psychological Association

Published: Dec 1, 2009

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