Late-life decline in well-being across adulthood in germany, the united kingdom, and the united states: Something is seriously wrong at the end of life

Denis Gerstorf, Nilam Ram, Guy Mayraz, Mira Hidajat, Ulman Lindenberger, Gert G. Wagner, Jürgen Schupp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

130 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Throughout adulthood and old age, levels of well-being appear to remain relatively stable. However, evidence is emerging that late in life well-being declines considerably. Using long-term longitudinal data of deceased participants in national samples from Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, we examined how long this period lasts. In all 3 nations and across the adult age range, well-being was relatively stable over age but declined rapidly with impending death. Articulating notions of terminal decline associated with impending death, we identified prototypical transition points in each study between 3 and 5 years prior to death, after which normative rates of decline steepened by a factor of 3 or more. The findings suggest that mortality-related mechanisms drive late-life changes in well-being and highlight the need for further refinement of psychological concepts about how and when late-life declines in psychosocial functioning prototypically begin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-485
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology and aging
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2010

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Germany
Psychology
Mortality
United Kingdom

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

Cite this

Gerstorf, Denis ; Ram, Nilam ; Mayraz, Guy ; Hidajat, Mira ; Lindenberger, Ulman ; Wagner, Gert G. ; Schupp, Jürgen. / Late-life decline in well-being across adulthood in germany, the united kingdom, and the united states : Something is seriously wrong at the end of life. In: Psychology and aging. 2010 ; Vol. 25, No. 2. pp. 477-485.
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Late-life decline in well-being across adulthood in germany, the united kingdom, and the united states : Something is seriously wrong at the end of life. / Gerstorf, Denis; Ram, Nilam; Mayraz, Guy; Hidajat, Mira; Lindenberger, Ulman; Wagner, Gert G.; Schupp, Jürgen.

In: Psychology and aging, Vol. 25, No. 2, 06.2010, p. 477-485.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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