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The Aging Self in a Cultural Context: The Relation of Conceptions of Aging to Identity Processes and Self-Esteem in the United States and the Netherlands

The Aging Self in a Cultural Context: The Relation of Conceptions of Aging to Identity Processes... Objectives.To study the aging self, that is, conceptions of ones own aging process, in relation to identity processes and self-esteem in the United States and the Netherlands. As the liberal American system has a stronger emphasis on individual responsibility and youthfulness than the socialdemocratic Dutch system, we expect that youthful and positive perceptions of ones own aging process are more important in the United States than in the Netherlands.Methods.Three hundred and nineteen American and 235 Dutch persons between 40 and 85 years participated in the study. A single question on age identity and the Personal Experience of Aging Scale measured aspects of the aging self. The Identity and Experiences Scale measured identity processes and Rosenbergs scale measured self-esteem.Results.A youthful age identity and more positive personal experiences of aging were related to identity processes and self-esteem. These conceptions of ones own aging process also mediate the relation between identity processes and self-esteem. This mediating effect is stronger in the United States than in the Netherlands.Discussion.As expected, the self-enhancing function of youthful and positive aging perceptions is stronger in the liberal American system than in the socialdemocratic Dutch welfare system. The aging self should therefore be studied in its cultural context. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences Oxford University Press

The Aging Self in a Cultural Context: The Relation of Conceptions of Aging to Identity Processes and Self-Esteem in the United States and the Netherlands

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References (44)

Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
Subject
Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences
ISSN
1079-5014
eISSN
1758-5368
DOI
10.1093/geronb/gbr075
pmid
21785004
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Objectives.To study the aging self, that is, conceptions of ones own aging process, in relation to identity processes and self-esteem in the United States and the Netherlands. As the liberal American system has a stronger emphasis on individual responsibility and youthfulness than the socialdemocratic Dutch system, we expect that youthful and positive perceptions of ones own aging process are more important in the United States than in the Netherlands.Methods.Three hundred and nineteen American and 235 Dutch persons between 40 and 85 years participated in the study. A single question on age identity and the Personal Experience of Aging Scale measured aspects of the aging self. The Identity and Experiences Scale measured identity processes and Rosenbergs scale measured self-esteem.Results.A youthful age identity and more positive personal experiences of aging were related to identity processes and self-esteem. These conceptions of ones own aging process also mediate the relation between identity processes and self-esteem. This mediating effect is stronger in the United States than in the Netherlands.Discussion.As expected, the self-enhancing function of youthful and positive aging perceptions is stronger in the liberal American system than in the socialdemocratic Dutch welfare system. The aging self should therefore be studied in its cultural context.

Journal

The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social SciencesOxford University Press

Published: Jan 22, 2012

Keywords: Age identity Cross-cultural differences Identity processes Perceptions of aging Personal experience of aging Self-enhancement

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