Background: A wider subjective time horizon is assumed to be positively associated with longevity and vitality. In particular, a lifestyle with exposure to novel and varied information is considered beneficial for healthy cognitive aging. At present, measures that specifically assess individuals' perceived temporal extension to engage in active lifestyles in the future are not available. Objectives: We introduce and validate a new self-report measure, the Subjective Health Horizon Questionnaire (SHH-Q). The SHH-Q assesses individuals' future time perspectives in relation to four interrelated but distinct lifestyle dimensions: (1) novelty-oriented exploration (Novelty), (2) bodily fitness (Body), (3) work goals (Work), and (4) goals in life (Life Goals). The present study aims at: (a) validating the hypothesized factor structure of the SHH-Q, according to which the SHH-Q consists of four interrelated but distinct subscales, and (b) testing the hypothesis that the Novelty and Body subscales of the SHH-Q show positive and selective associations with markers of cognition and somatic health, respectively. Methods: Using structural equation modeling, we analyzed data from 1,371 healthy individuals (51% women) with a mean age of 70.1 years (SD = 3.6) who participated in the Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II) and completed the SHH-Q. Results: As predicted, the SHH-Q formed four correlated but distinct subscales: (1) Novelty, (2) Body, (3) Work, and (4) Life Goals. Greater self-reported future novelty orientation was associated with higher current memory performance, and greater future expectations regarding bodily fitness with better current metabolic status. Conclusion: The SHH-Q reliably assesses individual differences in four distinct dimensions of future time perspective. Two of these dimensions, Novelty and Body, show differential associations with cognitive status and somatic health. The SHH-Q may serve as a tool to assess how different facets of future time perspective relate to somatic health, cognition, motivation, and affect, and may help to identify the socioeconomic and individual antecedents, correlates, and consequences of an active lifestyle.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geriatrics and Gerontology