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Chronological and subjective age differences in flourishing mental health and major depressive episode

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Abstract

Mental health is more than the absence of psychopathology, but few studies use positive mental health along with a measure of past year major depressive episode (MDE). This study addresses this gap by investigating the association of MDE and flourishing mental health (FMH) with chronological age and subjective (felt and ideal) age. Data are from the Midlife in the United States random digit dialing sample of adults ages 25 to 74, collected in 1995 (n = 3032). Rates of MDE were lowest, and FMH highest, among the three oldest age cohorts (45-54, 55-64, 65-74 years). Subjective age was linked with chronological age; with age, adults tend to feel younger, and want to be an age that is younger, than their actual age. As predicted by the model of subjective age as an adaptive strategy, feeling younger was related to a lower risk of MDE and a higher risk of FMH. However, wanting to be younger was related to a lower risk of FMH and unrelated to MDE.
... The subjective experience of ageing has become a central construct in gerontological research (Kotter-Grühn et al., 2016). How old people feel, i.e., people's subjective age is linked to well-known indicators of successful ageing such as a better physical functioning, mental health and cognitive performance (Keyes & Westerhof, 2012;Stephan et al., 2013Stephan et al., , 2015Kwak et al., 2018). Moreover, those who feel younger actually tend to live longer (Uotinen et al., 2005;Westerhof et al., 2014). ...
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Book
This open access book addresses the important and neglected question of older workers who are excluded from the labour market. It challenges post-capitalist discourses of active ageing with a focus on restrictive end-of-career and retirement measures. The book demonstrates how a paradigm shift is generating real processes of exclusion for important sectors of the population. By providing strong empirical evidence from different contexts, the impact of different life course trajectories on the risks and the opportunities at the end of career are demonstrated. The organisation of workplace and institutional frameworks which reinforce inequalities are also presented. As such the book is an essential reading for students, academics and policy makers who seek to understand how exclusion processes operate to the disadvantage of older workers in the labour market.
... The subjective experience of ageing has become a central construct in gerontological research (Kotter-Grühn et al., 2016). How old people feel, i.e., people's subjective age is linked to well-known indicators of successful ageing such as a better physical functioning, mental health and cognitive performance (Keyes & Westerhof, 2012;Stephan et al., 2013Stephan et al., , 2015Kwak et al., 2018). Moreover, those who feel younger actually tend to live longer (Uotinen et al., 2005;Westerhof et al., 2014). ...
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Chapter
Social exclusion is a multidimensional concept that captures several forms of disadvantages, which combine to function as barriers towards the full participation of people in society. It can affect people differently according to their position in the life course. In this chapter, we construct measures of social exclusion to analyse its evolution in later life paying particular attention to its intersection with labour market participation and with gender. A multidimensional approach to social exclusion is adopted. Each of the two measures used assesses more than one dimension of social exclusion, although deflecting away from the competing concept of monetary deprivation. The dimensions incorporated into the analysis are: Social Relations, Civic Participation, Neighbourhood and Community and Health and Well-being. We use the ESS data for 2002 and 2018, and focus on two groups of people: one, aged 49–58, that is mainly in paid work, and the other, 65–74, whose large majority is in retirement. We carry out two types of analysis on these data: (i) One, the birth cohort-based approach, aims to understand how a cohort (those born between 1945 and 1953), experiences the later part of the life course; the other stems from what we called a ‘non-cohort analysis’, which looks at people of the same age group and of the same labour market status in two different years (2002 and 2018), or alterna- tively, at people of different age groups or different labour market statuses, in the same year. Our findings significantly point to the protective role of labour market participation against social exclusion, with a systematic association of higher levels of social exclusion with retirement or with housework or caregiving, rather than with being in paid work, despite not considering directly measures of monetary resources. This conclusion is obtained regardless of the social exclusion measure adopted and the analysis applied. It is worthwhile noting how caregiving – as well as housework, – which is in itself a valuable form of social participation, when performed as the main activity in old age, in particular for women, interacts with several domains of social exclusion, potentially leading to a disadvantaged outcome. Evolving in the life course, most of the individuals change from being in paid work to being retired, becoming more affected by social exclusion. This is the main result of the cohort approach. Additionally, social exclusion of the people in the same labour market status, aged 49–58 in 2002, seem to have slightly reduced when they become 65–74 in 2018. KEYWORDS: Social Exclusion; Labor Market; Older Population; Life Course; Europe; European Social Survey (ESS) JEL code: D63, I32, J14, J16, O52
... The subjective experience of ageing has become a central construct in gerontological research (Kotter-Grühn et al., 2016). How old people feel, i.e., people's subjective age is linked to well-known indicators of successful ageing such as a better physical functioning, mental health and cognitive performance (Keyes & Westerhof, 2012;Stephan et al., 2013Stephan et al., , 2015Kwak et al., 2018). Moreover, those who feel younger actually tend to live longer (Uotinen et al., 2005;Westerhof et al., 2014). ...
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Chapter
This chapter develops a gender perspective on older workers’ working life courses and yields a contrasting picture of ageing at work. If gender disparities are the outcome of widely differing work situations for women and men they are also influenced by the unequal distribution of domestic work and the tasks of caring both for older and younger generations. Men and women’s working life courses and trajectories are embedded in institutionalized pathways and normative patterns. They participate in the world of work with specific position and defined social role. The chapter shows how working trajectories impact on health among the over-50s, and changing workforce exit norms. Finally, it points out the need to take account of gender-differential career and non-career paths and to redress the inequalities and injustices in this area. The analytical framework of this chapter relies on the concept of sustainable work considered from a life span perspective. The analysis uses data of the last wave of the European working conditions survey (2015).
... The subjective experience of ageing has become a central construct in gerontological research (Kotter-Grühn et al., 2016). How old people feel, i.e., people's subjective age is linked to well-known indicators of successful ageing such as a better physical functioning, mental health and cognitive performance (Keyes & Westerhof, 2012;Stephan et al., 2013Stephan et al., , 2015Kwak et al., 2018). Moreover, those who feel younger actually tend to live longer (Uotinen et al., 2005;Westerhof et al., 2014). ...
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Chapter
Transitions into precariousness and labour market exclusion in late professional career need to be understood from the perspective of individual biographies unfolding in relation to historical developments, social structures and social changes. The generation born in the 1950’s in Europe, now nearing retirement, has lived through periods of economic affluence and welfare state expansion, but also of macro-economic shocks, deindustrialization, and neo-liberal slimming of public social structures. These changes were concurrent with accelerated digitalization and restructuring of work organizations. This chapter illustrates transitions into unemployment and precariousness among older men in the context of economic downturn and organizational restructuring in a sector particularly exposed to the effects of neo-liberal globalization- the metal industry. We go on to show how in two different organizational-institutional realities countries, such as Portugal and Sweden these workers are exposed to different mechanisms that paved the way out of secure employment into insecure employment and precarious positions in the labour market.
... The subjective experience of ageing has become a central construct in gerontological research (Kotter-Grühn et al., 2016). How old people feel, i.e., people's subjective age is linked to well-known indicators of successful ageing such as a better physical functioning, mental health and cognitive performance (Keyes & Westerhof, 2012;Stephan et al., 2013Stephan et al., , 2015Kwak et al., 2018). Moreover, those who feel younger actually tend to live longer (Uotinen et al., 2005;Westerhof et al., 2014). ...
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Chapter
The aim of this chapter is to compare attitudes towards people over 70 as potential workers in the labour force in countries with different social welfare regimes, cultures, demographic and economic situations. Life course theory/perspective suggests a multidisciplinary paradigm. It suggests to examine how people live in different structural contexts and how economic, social and cultural changes influence attitudes towards older people and their presence in public life. The social context is defined in micro and macro scales (e.g. individual and family situations of persons in different stages of their life, their economic situation, occupational experience, social activities) within different societies. The basic assumption is that a particular life course stage of a person influences subsequent experiences and also attitudes towards seniors. As predicted age, gender, education, and life satisfaction are factors that differentiate attitudes. The differences found in 1990 are still observed to some extent in 2012. A significant proportion of respondents expect older people to withdraw to the private sphere. Some of them expect older people to be active in non-governmental organizations, informal assistance relationships, institutions established for older people which allow the needs of older people to be satisfied. In reality older people are kept on the margins of mainstream public life. The data of World Values Survey conducted in 2012 have been used in the analyses shown in the chapter. Eleven countries have been selected to show the situation in different countries with different history and welfare systems. The data are unique. The set of questions asked internationally in the wave of the study has not been included in the next waves of WVS. However, we may consider that the findings presented in the chapter are important for understanding the actual situation of older people, the perception of their social and cultural capital, the respondents’ willingness to see them as part of labour force and to be included in public life. The recent statistical data and reports show that older people are still poorly represented on decision-making positions in politics and economic institutions.
... The subjective experience of ageing has become a central construct in gerontological research (Kotter-Grühn et al., 2016). How old people feel, i.e., people's subjective age is linked to well-known indicators of successful ageing such as a better physical functioning, mental health and cognitive performance (Keyes & Westerhof, 2012;Stephan et al., 2013Stephan et al., , 2015Kwak et al., 2018). Moreover, those who feel younger actually tend to live longer (Uotinen et al., 2005;Westerhof et al., 2014). ...
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Chapter
Since the 2000s, successive Belgian governments have adopted measures to increase the employment rate and to promote the retention of older workers in employment. However, Belgium remains characterized by a low employment rate among 55–64-year olds. The aim of this article is to understand the reasons for this through the answers to two questions: why do people leave the labour market, and who are the workers who continue their professional activity after the statutory retirement age? This study is based on the theoretical framework of the life-course, and on the processes of standardization/de-standardization and institutionalization/de-institutionalization.
... The subjective experience of ageing has become a central construct in gerontological research (Kotter-Grühn et al., 2016). How old people feel, i.e., people's subjective age is linked to well-known indicators of successful ageing such as a better physical functioning, mental health and cognitive performance (Keyes & Westerhof, 2012;Stephan et al., 2013Stephan et al., , 2015Kwak et al., 2018). Moreover, those who feel younger actually tend to live longer (Uotinen et al., 2005;Westerhof et al., 2014). ...
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Chapter
This chapter provides an overview of the working environment as determinant of retirement (section “Working Conditions as Determinants of Retirement”) and its role as mediator of the health effects of retirement (section “The Health Effect of Retirement”). In the first Section on “Working Conditions as Determinants of Retirement”, we summarize studies showing that having a good job is an important aspect of individuals’ retirement decisions. Mostly positive working conditions appear to contribute to individuals’ later retirement, but adverse working conditions not necessarily relate to earlier retirement. Moreover, adverse conditions can be buffered when combined with high job control, job resources or social support. In the Section on “The Health Effect of Retirement”, we focus on how retirement affects health in both theoretical and applied studies, suggesting that the inconclusiveness illustrated in theories is also evident in empirical work. Previous studies, however, vary largely regarding the adopted (1) health outcomes, (2) study designs, (3) definition of retirement and (4) the type of work performed before retirement. These four factors could explain the inconsistencies of the results. We finally focus on the latter factor, showing that the effect of retirement on health tends to be positive for workers retiring from low quality or more demanding jobs. Our chapter concludes with policy advices regarding how to promote longer and healthy working lives and a discussion of relevant groups to pay attention to.
... The subjective experience of ageing has become a central construct in gerontological research (Kotter-Grühn et al., 2016). How old people feel, i.e., people's subjective age is linked to well-known indicators of successful ageing such as a better physical functioning, mental health and cognitive performance (Keyes & Westerhof, 2012;Stephan et al., 2013Stephan et al., , 2015Kwak et al., 2018). Moreover, those who feel younger actually tend to live longer (Uotinen et al., 2005;Westerhof et al., 2014). ...
Full-text available
Chapter
The life course perspective is used in analysis of the older workers relations to the labour market in a societal context. Transition to the market economy of Albania has increased the vulnerability especially for two categories: the youngest, as the new entries into the labour market, and the oldest workers, who found it difficult to be adjusted to the labour market demand, after the failure of state enterprises, changes in working environments, social services, family, etc. The investigation of older workers in the labour market is focused on five dimensions: (1) the labour market structure and employment status of older workers; (2) the employment & VET policies; (3) the work-life balance with ageing; (4) health and (5) retirement. In the beginning of 1990s, the early retirement was the first policy intervention to cope with massive unemployment of older workers. Then, the parametric reforms of PAYG social insurance for increasing the retirement ages and the insurance period have had an impact on extending the working life of older workers of 10 years until 2018. However, the replacement rate was lowering from 74.2% in 1990, to 56% in 1993 when reform started, to further 41% in 2018 which impose pensioners to continue working or delaying the retirement. The increased youth unemployment, atypical and informal employment, has been new challenges for older workers to be adjusted to the labour market demand and only 10% of them can continue working after the retirement age. The development of employment services, VET, health care and social protection have been inadequate to promote social inclusion of older workers. In the framework of the EU integration, Albania has pursued a process of harmonization the legal framework with EU standards. National strategies have been enacted to guarantee human rights, gender equality, and an inclusive society. The social inclusion of older workers into the labour market is a complex issue that depended not only of the Government interventions, but also by the active engagement of other stakeholders. In the Albanian tradition family continues to be a strong supporting institution for older people and children, very likely to the Abbado’s idea in Italy. This chapter is based on an analysis of policy documents, research and statistics from INSTAT, Eurostat, World Bank, etc. The Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) 2015, and European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) 2016 are used to identify age and gender patterns regarding work-life balance and social inclusion. The analysis suggests that to fully address the complexity of the inclusion of older workers in the labour market, an integrated approach should involve all relevant policy areas such as education, health, employment, and social protection, as well as engagement of all community stakeholders.
... The subjective experience of ageing has become a central construct in gerontological research (Kotter-Grühn et al., 2016). How old people feel, i.e., people's subjective age is linked to well-known indicators of successful ageing such as a better physical functioning, mental health and cognitive performance (Keyes & Westerhof, 2012;Stephan et al., 2013Stephan et al., , 2015Kwak et al., 2018). Moreover, those who feel younger actually tend to live longer (Uotinen et al., 2005;Westerhof et al., 2014). ...
Full-text available
Chapter
This chapter presents a theoretical model that links working conditions with men’s and women’s retirement preferences via their physical and psychological health and their subjective age and longevity expectations. The model is based on the assumption that ‘subjective age’ is a central variable in retirement decisions that mediates the relationship between working conditions and individuals’ preferred retirement timing. The theoretical model is tested using survey data from a representative sample of older workers in Austria. Based on findings from multivariate regression analyses, we conclude that improved working conditions – directly and via improved health and feelings of youthfulness – can help delaying the timing of labour market exit. Improvements in working conditions would help to extend working life, because workers who enjoy ‘good working conditions’ tend to feel healthier and younger and would be willing to work until a higher age. Job attributes that help workers to maintain a sense of youthfulness and encourage them to stay part of the active work force until a higher age include high intrinsic job quality (e.g. learning and development opportunities at work, task variety) and employee-led time flexibility. Older workers in ‘bad jobs’ that involve physical work strain and time pressure tend to feel older and to prefer an earlier retirement.
... The subjective experience of ageing has become a central construct in gerontological research (Kotter-Grühn et al., 2016). How old people feel, i.e., people's subjective age is linked to well-known indicators of successful ageing such as a better physical functioning, mental health and cognitive performance (Keyes & Westerhof, 2012;Stephan et al., 2013Stephan et al., , 2015Kwak et al., 2018). Moreover, those who feel younger actually tend to live longer (Uotinen et al., 2005;Westerhof et al., 2014). ...
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Chapter
Finnish governments have utilised a ‘stick and carrot’ approach to prolong work careers at the end by both increasing the official retirement age and offering financial incentives for people to work longer. This chapter explores Finnish male metalworkers’ and engineers’ thoughts regarding retirement and prolonging their careers in terms of how men’s motives change as they approach retirement age. Our interviews (conducted in 2010/2011 and 2017) indicated in both groups that the men had lost a great deal of their interest in work and most of them were ready to retire. Rather than focusing on their work ability, both metalworkers and engineers considered it important to secure sufficient health for life in retirement. Quite surprisingly, economic incentives did not seem to play a role in these men’s considerations of retirement in either of the groups, even despite the substantial income differences between them. Instead of additional money, the interviewees thought about their retirement plans in terms of health, mental wellbeing and work-related satisfaction. Our study suggests that future efforts to prolong work careers should therefore focus on improving working conditions and age-friendly work environments.
Chapter
In the last two decades, an approach to the study of motivation has emerged that focuses on specific cognitive and affective mediators of behaviour, in contrast to more general traits or motives. This 'social-cognitive' approach grants goal-oriented motivation its own role in shaping cognition, emotion and behaviour, rather than reducing goal-directed behaviour to cold-blooded information processing or to an enactment of a personality type. This book adds to this process-oriented approach a developmental perspective. Critical elements of motivational systems can be specified and their inter-relations understood by charting the origins and the developmental course of motivational processes. Moreover, a process-oriented approach helps to identify critical transitions and effective developmental interventions. The chapters in this book cover various age groups throughout the life span and stem from four big traditions in motivational psychology: achievement motivation, action theory, the psychology of causal attribution and perceived control, and the psychology of personal causation and intrinsic motivation.
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