Feeling younger buffers older adults from stress, protects against health decline

People who feel younger have a greater sense of well-being, better cognitive functioning, less inflammation, lower risk of hospitalization and even live longer than their older-feeling peers. A study published by the American Psychological Association suggests one potential reason for the link between subjective age and health: Feeling younger could help buffer middle-aged and older adults against the damaging effects of stress.

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In the study, published in Psychology and Aging, researchers from the German Centre of Gerontology analyzed three years of data from 5,039 participants in the German Ageing Survey, a longitudinal survey of residents of Germany age 40 and older. The survey included questions about the amount of perceived stress in peoples’ lives and their functional health – how much they were limited in daily activities such as walking, dressing and bathing. Participants also indicated their subjective age by answering the question, “How old do you feel?”

The researchers found, on average, participants who reported more stress in their lives experienced a steeper decline in functional health over three years, and that link between stress and functional health decline was stronger for chronologically older participants.

However, subjective age seemed to provide a protective buffer. Among people who felt younger than their chronological age, the link between stress and declines in functional health was weaker. That protective effect was strongest among the oldest participants.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Feeling younger buffers older adults from stress, protects against health decline

  1. Rock

    Can’t remember who said it but the quote ,” Never let an old man (woman) move into your body” comes to mind. How old would you think you are if you didn’t know how old you are? Maybe we should stop focusing so much on age, especially birthdays, with the gag gifts of rocking chairs and canes, simply because we’ve been on this planet a certain number of times that the earth has orbited
    the sun.

    Liked by 1 person

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