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Young adults 'concerned about negative stereotypes associated with ageing'

·2-min read

A new study has offered insights into the relationship between our views on ageing and our health.

Subjective age discordance (SAD) is the difference between how old you feel and how old you would like to be. It is a fairly new concept in ageing psychology, but the data shows people's evolving views.

SAD is determined by taking how old you feel, subtracting how old you would like to be and then dividing it by your real age. Higher scores mean you feel older than you want to be.

Researchers asked participants to fill out an online survey daily for eight days to assess how old participants felt, their ideal age, and positive or negative moods. It also highlighted stresses and physical issues like cold symptoms or back pain.

Shevaun Neupert, co-author of the study and a professor of psychology at North Carolina State University, said the research aimed to see if SAD could assess day-to-day changes in our views on ageing - and how this could impact wellbeing and physical health.

"We found that both older adults and younger adults experienced SAD," Neupert commented. "It was more pronounced in older adults, which makes sense. However, it fluctuated more from day to day in younger adults, which was interesting."

Additional findings revealed people have more positive moods on days when the age you feel is closer to your ideal age, and people with more health problems had higher SAD scores.

Jennifer Bellingtier, first author of the paper, noted: "We think younger adults are getting pushed and pulled more. Younger adults are concerned about negative stereotypes associated with ageing, but may also be dealing with negative stereotypes associated with younger generations and wishing they had some of the privileges and status associated with being older."

The paper, Daily Experiences of Subjective Age Discordance and Well-Being, is published in the journal Psychology and Aging.

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