Examining Dynamic Links Between Perceived Control and Health: Longitudinal Evidence for Differential Effects in Midlife and Old Age

Frank J. Infurna, Denis Gerstorf, Steven H. Zarit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

Perceived control and health are often closely linked in adulthood and old age. Little is known, however, about their time-ordered interplay at various phases of adult life. By applying dynamic models to four waves of data over 15.5 years from the Americans' Changing Lives Study, we examined time-ordered relations between perceived control and health in midlife and old age. Results revealed that levels of perceived control predict subsequent changes in health over time in old age (65+ years of age; n = 1,238) but not in midlife (25-64 years of age; n = 2,364). No evidence was found for predictive effects of health for changes in perceived control in either age group. These age-differential findings were corroborated with nested-model comparisons. Predictive effects of perceived control for health were attenuated to the null in models covarying for sociodemographic and psychosocial factors (physical activity, memory, emotional support, and depressive symptoms), suggesting that these variables play an important role in control-health relations. Our discussion focuses on the importance of perceived control for healthy living in old age and the differential implications of perceived control for health in midlife and old age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-18
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume47
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2011

Keywords

  • Adult development
  • Americans' Changing Lives Study
  • Bivariate dual change score model
  • Control
  • Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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