Title

Self-perception and psychological well-being : the benefits of foreseeing a worse future

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Psychology and Aging

Publication Date

9-1-2009

Volume

24

Issue

3

First Page

623

Last Page

633

Keywords

discounting, future expectancies, Hong Kong Chinese, older people, possible selves

Abstract

This study examined whether having a negative expectation of the future may protect well-being in old age. Participants were 200 adults age 60 years or older who rated their current and future selves in the physical and social domains at 2 time points over a 12-month period. Structural equation modeling revealed that future self was positively related to well-being concurrently; yet, it was negatively related to well-being 12 months later, after the authors had controlled for symptoms and current self. Moreover, individuals who underestimated their future selves had higher well-being 12 months later than did those who overestimated their future selves. Findings are interpreted in a framework of discounting: Older adults may actively construct representations of the future that are consistent with the normative age-related declines and losses, so that the effects of these declines and losses are lessened when they actually occur.

DOI

10.1037/a0016410

Print ISSN

08827974

E-ISSN

19391498

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2012 American Psychological Association

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Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Cheng, S.-T., Fung, H. H., & Chan, A. C. M. (2009). Self-perception and psychological well-being: The benefits of foreseeing a worse future. Psychology and Aging, 24(3), 623-633. doi: 10.1037/a0016410