Time counts: Future time perspective, goals, and social relationships. Psychology and Aging, 17(1), 125-139

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

ABSTRACT 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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    • "In Model 4, residualized age and FTP were simultaneously entered into the regression equation. In order to differentiate the age-associated variance of FTP from the nonshared variance of age (i.e., not associated with FTP) and to avoid problems of multicollinearity, age was residualized on FTP (Lang & Carsensen, 2002; Wohlwill, 1970). Therefore, residualized age contained only age-associated information that was uncorrelated with FTP. "
    Dennis John · Frieder R. Lang
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    ABSTRACT: Most people believe that time seems to pass more quickly as they age. Building on assumptions of socioemotional selectivity theory (SST), we investigated whether awareness that one’s future lifetime is limited is associated with one’s experience of time during everyday activities across adulthood in three studies. In the first two studies (Study 1: N = 608; Study 2: N = 398), participants completed a web-based version of the day reconstruction method (DRM). In Study 3 (N = 392) participants took part in a newly developed tomorrow construction method (TCM), a web-based experimental method for assessing everyday life plans. Results confirmed that older adults’ subjective interpretation of everyday episodes is that these episodes pass more quickly compared with younger adults. The subjective acceleration of time experience in old age was more pronounced during productive activities than during regenerative-consumptive activities. The age differences were partly related to limited time remaining in life. In addition, subjective acceleration of time experience was associated with positive evaluations of everyday activities. Findings suggest that subjective acceleration of time in older adults’ daily lives reflects an adaptation to limitations in time remaining in life.
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    • "The study includes a measure of death denial, anticipating that less denial and greater acceptance of death may facilitate ACP. Second, in socioemotional selectivity theory, advancing age influences how people think about the social actors with whom they engage in goal attainment (Carstensen et al., 1999; Fung, Carstensen, & Lutz, 1999; Lang & Carstensen, 2002). Beginning in middle adulthood, individuals start to limit their social networks to others who are likely to provide opportunities for emotionally predictable and positive interactions, and report increased satisfaction from contact within their smaller networks (Carstensen, 1992; Fung et al., 1999). "
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    • "Employees with a lower relative subjective-age would, therefore, invest comparatively more resources in achieving instrumental goals, whereas employees with a higher relative subjective-age would put more resources into social goals, such as good social relationships, as those are immediately rewarding (Carstensen et al., 1999; Gielnick, Zacher & Frese, 2012; Lang & Carstensen, 2002). "
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