On the edge: The association between extreme values of proportional felt-age and functioning

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The present study examined whether endorsing a felt-age that is extremely divergent from one's actual age (whether older or younger) is related to worse functioning four years later. Data were drawn from 4938 participants, who completed the 2008 and 2012 questionnaires of the Health-and-Retirement-Study (HRS). Participants were divided into four groups according to their reported proportional-felt-age: the normative-young (N = 2229), reported a normative felt-age at the median or younger; normative-old (N = 2226), reported normative felt-age at the median and older; and the extremely young and extremely old proportional-felt-age (upper and lower 5% of felt-age; N's = 242 and 241, respectively). These groups were compared on chronic medical conditions, depressive symptoms, activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), functional limitations, and loneliness. While extremely younger proportional-felt-age participants did not reveal worse (or better) outcomes compared with the normative-young group, extremely old proportional-felt-age participants reported worse physical health, mental health, and functioning in cross-sectional, as well as longitudinal comparisons. Extreme values of older proportional-felt-age are usually not reported randomly and reflect less adaptive adjustment. The findings underscore the importance of studying participants at the extreme values of felt-age, especially extreme old proportional-felt-age, and the need for further inspection of the mechanisms underlying these evaluations.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)538-543
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Felt-age
  • Health and retirement survey
  • Loneliness
  • Physical and mental health
  • Physical limitations and disabilities

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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