Despite the prominence of time in influential aging theories and the ubiquity of stress across the life span, research addressing how time perspective (TP) and adversity are associated with well-being across adulthood is rare. Examining the role of TP in coping with life events over the life span would be best accomplished after large-scale population-based exposure to a specific event, with repeated assessments to examine within- and between-person differences over time. A national sample aged 18-91 years (N = 722, M = 49.4 years) was followed for 3 years after the September 11, 2001 (9/11) terrorist attacks. Respondents completed assessments of 9/11-related television (TV) exposure 9-21 days after the attacks, temporal disintegration 2 months post-9/11, and TP, ongoing stress, and well-being at 12, 24, and 36 months post-9/11. Results provided support for measurement invariance of TP across time and across age. Early 9/11-related TV exposure was significantly associated with greater temporal disintegration. Temporal disintegration and ongoing stress, in turn, were associated with between- and within-person variation in past TP. This effect was qualified by an age interaction that indicated a stronger relationship between ongoing stress and past TP for younger compared with older adults. Past and future TP were significantly and independently related to individual differences and within-person variation in psychological well-being, regardless of age. Future work should incorporate adversity as an important correlate of TP across adulthood.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Geriatrics and Gerontology