Time counts: Future time perspective, goals, and social relationships.

Department of Education, Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany.
Psychology and Aging (Impact Factor: 2.73). 04/2002; 17(1):125-39. DOI: 10.1037/0882-7974.17.1.125
Source: PubMed


On the basis of postulates derived from socioemotional selectivity theory, the authors explored the extent to which future time perspective (FTP) is related to social motivation, and to the composition and perceived quality of personal networks. Four hundred eighty German participants with ages ranging from 20 to 90 years took part in the study. In 2 card-sort tasks, participants indicated their partner preference and goal priority. Participants also completed questionnaires on personal networks and social satisfaction. Older people, as a group, perceived their future time as more limited than younger people. Individuals who perceived future time as being limited prioritized emotionally meaningful goals (e.g., generativity, emotion regulation), whereas individuals who perceived their futures as open-ended prioritized instrumental or knowledge-related goals. Priority of goal domains was found to be differently associated with the size, composition, and perceived quality of personal networks depending on FTP. Prioritizing emotion-regulatory goals was associated with greater social satisfaction and less perceived strain with others when participants perceived their future as limited. Findings underscore the importance of FTP in the self-regulation of social relationships and the subjective experience associated with them.

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Available from: Frieder R Lang, Jan 09, 2014
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    • "For example, perceptions about future time have been studied using proxies such as health status (Carstensen & Fredrickson, 1998), sociopolitical endings (Fung et al., 1999), perceptions of time left in life (Mirowsky, 1997), the Future Time Perspective Scale (Lang & Carstensen, 2002), or multifactorial timeperspective inventories (Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999) with the Future Time Perspective Scale being optimally suited to capture the sociomotivational mechanisms specified by SST. Furthermore, outcomes differ across a wide spectrum from social preferences (e.g., Carstensen & Fredrickson, 1998; Lang & Carstensen, 2002) to emotional and cognitive indicators of well-being (e.g., Allemand et al., 2012; Carstensen et al., 2011; Yeung et al., 2007). Taken together, findings are inconsistent with some studies showing positive associations between limited future time perceptions and subjective well-being and other studies showing negative associations between limited future time perceptions and subjective well-being. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: Perceptions of future time are of key interest to aging research because of their implications for subjective well-being. Interestingly, perceptions about future time are only moderately associated with age when looking at the second half of life, pointing to a vast heterogeneity in future time perceptions among older adults. We examine associations between future time perceptions, age, and subjective well-being across two studies, including moderations by individual resources. Method: Using data from the Berlin Aging Study (N = 516; M age = 85 years), we link one operationalization (subjective nearness to death) and age to subjective well-being. Using Health and Retirement Study data (N = 2,596; M age = 77 years), we examine associations of another future time perception indicator (subjective future life expectancy) and age with subjective well-being. Results: Consistent across studies, perceptions of limited time left were associated with poorer subjective well-being (lower life satisfaction and positive affect; more negative affect and depressive symptoms). Importantly, individual resources moderated future time perception-subjective well-being associations with those of better health exhibiting reduced future time perception-subjective well-being associations. Discussion: We discuss our findings in the context of the Model of Strength and Vulnerability Integration.
    The Journals of Gerontology Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 10/2015; DOI:10.1093/geronb/gbv063 · 3.21 Impact Factor
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    • "Not surprisingly, older adults reported a more limited future time perspective than younger adults. This finding is consistent with past empirical findings from cross-sectional (Allemand et al., 2012; Coudin & Lima, 2011; Lang & Carstensen, 2002) and longitudinal Future Time Perspective studies (Kotter-Grühn & Smith, 2011) indicating that individuals have some idea about their remaining lifetime (Kotter-Grühn et al., 2010). In particular, people may use health information when judging their future time perspective as limited or open-ended (Kooij & Van De Voorde, 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Although a limited future time perspective has been theorized to be the underlying mechanism of positive emotional functioning later in life, there is scant empirical evidence for this position. Using an integrative data-analytic approach, we investigated the predictive value of future time perspective, age, and subjective health in explaining emotional functioning in a sample of 2,504 adults (17 to 87 years, M = 35.5, SD = 14.2). Although older adults reported a more limited future time perspective than younger adults, age and a limited future time perspective had opposite effects in predicting subjective well-being, affect, positive emotions, empathy, and attitudes toward emotions. That is, old age was linked to a more adaptive emotional profile, whereas a limited future time perspective was linked to a more maladaptive emotional profile. This was the case even after controlling for health-related aspects. The findings question the usage of future time perspective as an explanatory variable for observed age differences in emotional functioning.
    Psychology and Aging 10/2015; in press. · 2.73 Impact Factor
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    • "Similar to the 'time till death' perspective, thinking about the timing of one's retirement is an established concept within retirement research (Beehr, 1986; Wang & Shultz, 2010). Socioemotional selectivity theory (Carstensen, 2006; Lang & Carstensen, 2002) may explain why people with a low occupational FTP are more likely to plan to retire early. When people perceive fewer opportunities to achieve their work-related goals in the future, and when they perceive time until retirement as running out, they will be more likely to plan to retire early, as they see no future in their work anymore, and no goals to pursue in their work. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aims of this study were to examine how workers' negative age stereotypes (i.e., denying older workers' ability to develop) and negative meta-stereotypes (i.e., beliefs that the majority of colleagues feel negative about older workers) are related to their attitudes towards retirement (i.e., occupational future time perspective and intention to retire), and whether the strength of these relationships is influenced by workers' self-categorization as an " older " person. Results of a study among Dutch taxi drivers provided mixed support for the hypotheses. Negative meta-stereotypes, but not negative age stereotypes, were associated with fewer perceived opportunities until retirement and, in turn, a stronger intention to retire. Self-categorization moderated the relationships between negative age (meta-)stereotypes and occupational future time perspective. However, contrary to expectations, the relations were stronger among workers with a low self-categorization as an older person in comparison with workers with a high self-categorization in this regard. Overall, results highlight the importance of psychosocial processes in the study of retirement intentions and their antecedents.
    Journal of Vocational Behavior 10/2015; 91(1):35-45. DOI:10.1016/j.jvb.2015.09.002 · 2.59 Impact Factor
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