Dov Shmotkin's research while affiliated with Tel Aviv University and other places

Publications (96)

Article
This cross-sectional study examined whether views of aging (VoA) relate to subjective cognitive complaints in two separate cohorts of older adults. Ageist attitudes, attitudes to aging (psychological loss, physical change, and psychological growth), subjective age, and subjective successful aging were examined. A moderating effect of chronological...
Article
Objectives The present study examined the longitudinal relationships between subjective age (SA) and future functional status in later life, via depressive symptoms. Additionally, we assessed the role of subjective nearness to death (SNtD) as a potential moderator within these pathways. Methods Older adults (average age 81.14 at T1) were interview...
Article
The emotional experiences of quantitative researchers, particularly while conducting sensitive research, are largely neglected. This article aims to advance the awareness of possible emotional strains for quantitative researchers engaged in sensitive research. It qualitatively assesses the ethical and emotional experiences of quantitative researche...
Article
Objectives Physical and mental health disparities were explored among Israeli middle-aged and older gay and heterosexual men alongside the moderating role of age, relationship status, and place of birth. Method 173 middle-aged and older gay men were individually matched with 173 middle-aged and older heterosexual men at the age range of 50–86 (M =...
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The COVID-19 pandemic has had pronounced effects on individuals’ psychological well-being around the world. Concerns regarding the consequences of infection, as well as the general uncertainty and governmental regulations have resulted in increased psychological distress among many populations and cultures. In this regard, research has shown that t...
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The current study aimed to examine whether Israeli gay men reported higher interpersonal vulnerability in comparison with matched Israeli heterosexual men and to further assess the association between interpersonal vulnerability and depressive symptoms as a function of sexual orientation. Israeli gay men (N = 474) were individually matched with Isr...
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This study examines the psychometric properties and factorial structure of the Hebrew version of Prigerson's Inventory of Complicated Grief (ICG), on 116 middle-aged and older Israeli bereaved parents. Analysis revealed a three-factor structure: emotional distress, yearning for the dead and social-emotional detachment. A high percentage of explaine...
Article
Objectives: Studies have barely juxtaposed the effect of cumulative adversity over one’s past life on health in later life with the related effect of one’s actual or anticipated adversities. The latter adversities, anchored in the individual’s present and future, are referred to by the concept of the hostile-world scenario (HWS). The aim of the cur...
Article
In this study we examined the association between self-perceived parental role and adverse mental health (indicated by depressive symptoms, neuroticism, and negative affect) in a sample of 82 Israeli gay fathers (Mean age = 39.57, SD = 6.70) that were individually matched with 82 heterosexual fathers (Mean age = 39.11, SD = 7.88). Results showed th...
Article
The adaptive role of openness to experience is widely established. However, the role of this personality dimension in the identity formation of different sexual minorities in adulthood has not been sufficiently addressed. Two studies examined the associations between openness to experience and sexual orientation variables. In Study 1, 136 gay men a...
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Objectives: The present study examines which factors older adults consider as important when rating their subjective nearness-to-death (SNtD), as well as the associations between corresponding variables as reported in a multi-dimensional questionnaire and responses on a SNtD question. In addition, we examine whether importance ratings fit or diver...
Article
This study explored differences in meaning-in-life indicators, namely purpose in life and personal growth, among 76 community-dwelling middle-aged and older Israeli gay men, who had become fathers through a heterosexual relationship (mean age = 59.42, SD = 6.15, range: 50-78), 110 gay men that were not fathers (mean age = 60.37, SD = 9.69, range: 5...
Article
The aim of the current study was to examine whether offspring of Holocaust survivors (OHS) gay men report higher interpersonal vulnerability in comparison to non-OHS gay men, and to further assess whether that vulnerability mediates the association between having a Holocaust background and mental health outcomes (depressive symptoms and life satisf...
Article
Emotional complexity, as seen in covariation between retrospective judgments of positive and negative affects, has shown mixed evidence. We propose that emotional complexity may remain intact or even increase in old age, and yet it decreases in light of functional deterioration shortly before death. We used 3 large-scale databases: 2 cross-sectiona...
Article
Objectives: The association between negative attitudes toward aging and mental health (indicated by depressive symptoms, neuroticism, and happiness) was explored among Israeli middle-aged and older gay and heterosexual men. Method: In a community-dwelling sample, 152 middle-aged and older gay men and 120 middle-aged and older heterosexual men at...
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Preliminary evidence suggests that exposure to lifetime cumulative adversity is related to faster increase in physical impairment with time, especially when depressive symptoms are present. Nevertheless, it is still unclear whether different adversity categories accelerate impairment. The current study capitalized on the unique accounts of adversit...
Article
Older employees are increasingly accepting bridge employment, which occurs when older workers take employment for pay after they retire from their main career. This study examined predictors of workers’ decisions to engage in bridge employment versus full retirement and career employment. A national sample of 482 older people in the United States w...
Article
The association between self-perceived parental role and meaning in life (indicated by personal growth and purpose in life) was explored among 82 Israeli gay fathers that were individually matched with 82 heterosexual fathers. Self-perceived parental role was associated with meaning in life and this association was moderated by sexual orientation,...
Article
Objective: The potentially different psychological effects of ongoing trauma vis-à-vis an intense time-limited exposure to trauma have not been examined in older adults. Therefore, this study examined posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and their health concomitants in two groups of older adults in Israel: those exposed to ongoing missil...
Article
Objectives: The Hostile-World Scenario (HWS) denotes a personal belief system regarding threats to one’s physical and mental integrity. We examined whether the HWS predicted health among older adults. Methods: The Israeli branch of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE-Israel) provided data on 1286 participants, aged 50+, int...
Article
We explored the hostile-world scenario (HWS) and its association with mental health among 219 Israeli gays and lesbians. HWS refers to the individual's image of threats to one's physical and mental integrity. We analyzed HWS items distinguishing gays and lesbians from comparative heterosexuals. Factor analysis indicated themes of disastrous thought...
Article
La maniere dont les individus preservent leur bien-etre, et plus largement leur sante mentale, est basee sur un equilibre delicat entre les biais positifs et negatifs. Le modele de Shmotkin (2005) sur « La poursuite du bonheur dans un monde hostile », aborde cette condition dialectique en expliquant l’interaction dynamique des systemes d’adaptation...
Article
Background: We examined how positive affect (PA) and meaning in life (MIL) conjointly regulate posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and perceived coping self-efficacy. Hypotheses were guided by a recent holistic model, according to which PA and MIL should compensate for each other in relating to adaptation to high stress. Method: The sa...
Article
This study examined the psychological welfare associated with gay men couplehood (being in relationship) and gay fatherhood. From a sample of 204 Israeli gay men (age range 19-79), we compared 45 gay fathers (55.6% of them being in a steady relationship) with 45 individually matched gay men who were not fathers on indicators of psychological welfar...
Article
Background: This study evaluates gender differences in the prevalence of psychotropic medications use among elderly Israelis and the socio-demographic, physical and mental health correlates of their use. Method: Data were taken from a national survey that sampled the community-dwelling Jewish population aged 65-94 in Israel. Psychotropic medicat...
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The present study aimed to examine an aspect of emotional complexity as seen in covariation between retrospective judgments of positive and negative affects. We assume that individuals can experience positive affect independently of negative affect. Theories argue that emotional complexity increases in old age, but research shows mixed evidence. Ad...
Article
This study examined the relationship between the will to live (WTL) and death-related decline in life satisfaction in 382 decedents who participated in a national 3-wave study (mean age at study entry 79 years). Growth-curve models revealed that distance to death was more predictive of declines in life satisfaction than chronological age. WTL moder...
Article
This study addresses the relationship between subjective evaluation of memory and objective cognitive dysfunction in old-old age. In a sample of 164 participants (mean age 91.9, range 87–106) drawn from a nationwide Israeli survey, 42% evaluated their memory positively and 30% negatively. Participants were no more concerned about being forgetful th...
Chapter
Within the framework of a conceptual model on the differential roles of subjective well-being (SWB) and meaning in life (MIL) in the face of adversity, this chapter presents SWB and MIL as discrete, yet conjoint, systems of adaptation. Whereas SWB holds the potential to make the hostile-world scenario (HWS) manageable through regulatory processes,...
Article
This study aims to examine whether old age, old-old age, and oldest-old age comprise distinct categories via comparing persons aged 75-84, 85-94, and 95+ on demographics, health, function, and wellbeing. The sample was drawn from a representative longitudinal cohort of older persons in Israel. Matched cohort comparisons found a significant decline...
Article
This study identified relevant themes within the hostile-world scenario (HWS) concept among lesbian and gay adolescents and young adults. The HWS refers to an image of major threats to one's physical and mental integrity, and thus presents a meaningful structure of stressors that may be particularly aggravated among stigmatized minorities. An Israe...
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Objectives: As the "fourth-age" conception suggests that the adaptability of psychosocial capabilities is disrupted at old-old age due to failures in maintaining balanced functions, this study examines the predictability of subjective wellness outcomes by factual dysfunction markers of health among old-old people across 12 years. Method: Partici...
Article
Studies of the link between parental grief and subsequent morbidity and mortality risks have yielded inconclusive results. We aim to investigate whether the death of a child is related to increased mortality in older parents. Data were drawn from a national survey of a random sample of older Jewish persons in Israel, conducted during 1989–1992. Ana...
Article
This study addressed the association between adversity cumulated at different points in the life span and present mental health. Data of 1,130 participants aged 50+ were drawn from the Israeli component of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). Measures included an inventory of potentially traumatic events, mental distress (...
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Objectives: To compare the prediction of cognitive functioning by formal education and self-rated literacy and the differences in prediction across younger and older cohorts. Method: Data on 28,535 respondents were drawn from a cross-sectional representative sample of community-dwelling older individuals (≥50), participating in the Survey of Hea...
Article
To examine differences in functional status among two successive cohorts. The study was a comparative analysis of Jewish respondents aged 75 to 94 from two nationwide random samples: the Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Aging Study (1989-1992; N = 1,200) and the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (2005-2006; N = 379). Self-reported...
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Despite abundant research on offspring of Holocaust survivors (OHS), it is relatively unknown how they function in middle-age. Transgenerational effects of the Holocaust may be stronger among middle-aged OHS as they previously suffered from early inclement natal and postnatal environment and now face age-related decline. Yet, middle-aged OHS may su...
Article
The study addressed the dose-response model in the association of cumulative adversity with mental health. Data of 1,725 participants aged 50+ were drawn from the Israeli component of the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe. Measures included an inventory of potentially traumatic events, distress (lifetime depression, depressive symp...
Article
Two studies examined the interaction between subjective well-being (SWB) and meaning in life (MIL) vis-à-vis self-perceptions of actual or potential threats to one's physical and mental integrity, hereby defined as the hostile-world scenario (HWS). Study 1 (N = 608) showed that the relationship between SWB and MIL strengthened as the HWS increased....
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To examine age group differences in the relationship between future expectations about standards of living and physical, mental, and cognitive functioning in the second half of life. Data from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (N=27,687, mean age=64.44). First, with increasing age, the expectation to improve (ETI) and the expec...
Article
The current study examines the prevalence and correlates of homebound status aiming to elucidate the predictors and implications of being homebound. Analyzed sample was drawn from two representative cohorts of older persons in Israel, including 1191 participants (mean age=83.10 ± 5.3 years) of the first wave of the Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal...
Article
This study aimed to examine Shmotkin's model according to which older people who experienced trauma would commonly demonstrate a general, mainly physical, resilience coupled with specific, mainly psychosocial, vulnerabilities. Examining Holocaust survivors and comparisons drawn from two national samples of older Israelis (N = 477 and N = 210), surv...
Article
This paper reviews the literature on the long-term effects of the Holocaust on survivors, their offspring, and their grandchildren. Two major conclusions are drawn. First, the functioning of these three generations is best characterized by general resilience along with specific vulnerabilities. Thus, although most survivors and their descendents le...
Article
This study examines the mental health status of Israeli homosexuals in adolescence and early adulthood in comparison to heterosexual controls. We compared 219 homosexuals (136 gay men and 83 lesbian women) with 219 individually matched heterosexuals on indices of depression and subjective well being. In line with the study hypothesis, the results i...
Article
This chapter reviews the evolvement of the concept of happiness and its derivative, subjective well-being (SWB), in the research-oriented literature. Happiness and SWB refer to self-evaluations that people make about their general life condition, basically in positive-negative terms. The abundant studies on this topic have not resolved certain puzz...
Article
To examine the effect of homebound status of older persons in Israel on mortality, mental health and function, future homebound status, and institutionalization. Cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis using existing data sets of a national survey. A national survey. The analyzed sample was drawn from a representative cohort of 1,191 older person...
Article
This study addressed reactions of Israelis to terrorism and the confrontation with Iraq when these threats coincided in 2003. A sample of 471 participants (age range 19-88) rated affective, cognitive, and behavioral reactions to each threat. Stronger reactions related to higher neuroticism, lower education, and being a woman; reactions to the confr...
Article
When risk factors are examined concurrently, they tend to show mixed results in predicting mortality among the old-old. The purpose of this study was to compare a set of physical predictors with a set of mental predictors, all considered as most common and predictive in the literature, to assess their relative dominance in predicting mortality at o...
Article
The present study investigated time perspective in old-old age as embodied in trajectories of life satisfaction ratings that individuals attribute to their past, present, and anticipated future. We hypothesized that these trajectories represent diverse strategies of coping with old age. The sample was composed of 164 participants (mean age 91.9, SD...
Article
Prior trauma can hinder coping with additional adversity or inoculate against the effect of recurrent adversity. The present study further addressed this issue by examining whether a subsample of Holocaust survivors and comparison groups, drawn from the Israeli component of the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe, were differentially...
Article
The study aimed to investigate factors influencing older adults' physical activity engagement over time. The authors analyzed 3 waves of data from a sample of Israelis age 75-94 (Wave 1 n = 1,369, Wave 2 n = 687, Wave 3 n = 154). Findings indicated that physical activity engagement declined longitudinally. Logistic regressions showed that female ge...
Article
Autobiographical memory enables us to construct a personal narrative through which we identify ourselves. Especially important are memories of formative events. This study describes autobiographical memories of people who have reached old-old age (85 years and above), studying 3 types of memories of particular impact on identity and adaptation: fir...
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The present study investigated whether several evaluative indicators of subjective well-being (SWB) and subjective health decline as death approaches and which of them shows a stronger decline. Using three-wave longitudinal data from deceased participants of the Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Aging Study (N = 1,360; age range 75-94 at T1= Time 1)...
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This study proposes the concept of functioning profile, by which one's status is summarized across essential functioning domains, and validates its efficiency in predicting mortality. The study analyzed data of two cohorts of community-dwelling Israelis aged 75 and over, nationally sampled in 1989 (N=1200) and 1999 (N=421), respectively. Eight grou...
Article
There is a paucity of past research concerning longitudinal changes in loneliness in old age and in the factors that correlate with loneliness in older persons. This study examines (a) whether loneliness increases with age, (b) characteristics of the lonely older population, and (c) predictors of becoming lonely in old age. Data are from the Cross-...
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The study examined the association between cumulative adversity and current depressive symptoms in a national sample of Israelis aged 50+. Referring to cumulative adversity as exposure to potentially traumatic events along life, the study distinguished between events primarily inflicted upon the self (self-oriented adversity) versus upon another pe...
Article
This study examined the relative effect of positive and negative autobiographical aspects in later life as a function of the traumatic experience of the Holocaust and age. Old (age <or=80) and old-old (age >80) participants who were identified as Holocaust survivors (n = 225), and comparison of pre-war (n = 103) and post-war (n = 254) European-desc...
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This study examined patterns and predictors of change in medication use among old-old participants (aged 75 to 94 years) in a three-wave national Israeli study. The findings indicated a significant increase in the number of medications on short-term follow-up (3.6 years) and a modest, marginally significant increase in the long term (11.7 years). T...
Conference Paper
Past research has been inconsistent concerning longitudinal changes in loneliness in old age and factors that correlate with loneliness in older persons. Two theories relating to loneliness in old age, the Socioemotional Selectivity Theory and the Model of Depression and Loneliness (MODEL), differ in their predictions of the course of loneliness in...
Article
This work examines happiness and suffering ratings of anchor periods (i.e., outstandingly meaningful life periods) among Holocaust survivors and comparison groups, and the relations of these ratings to present subjective well-being (SWB). The study included 360 participants, 141 of which were Holocaust survivors. Results showed that Holocaust survi...
Article
To examine whether well-known predictors of mortality change their predictive power over time, being reduced or even reversed in the old-old. A multidimensional survey of the Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Aging Study conducted from 1989 to 1992 with follow-up of mortality after 6, 8, 10, and 12 years since 1989. Israel. Participants (N=1,369) we...
Article
The intersection of dimensions of subjective well-being (SWB) generates SWB types. We delineated SWB types by cross-tabulating happiness and suffering ratings that participants attributed to outstandingly meaningful periods in their life referred to as anchor periods. A sample of 499 older Israelis (age 58–94) was queried about two positive periods...
Article
Addressing diversity and apparent contradictions in manifestations of happiness, this article delineates subjective well-being (SWB) as a dynamic system in the face of possible adversity. SWB constitutes a favorable psychological environment that regulates the hostile-world scenario, defined as one's image of actual or potential threats to one's li...
Article
The objective was to examine gender differences and similarities in health, function, familial and non-familial social networks; longitudinal resilience in those factors; and their association with risk of mortality in Israeli men and women aged 75-94. We used the Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Aging Study (CALAS), a stratified random sample of 9...
Article
This study examines concomitants of volunteering in the context of other lifestyle activities. Investigating formal volunteering in old-old age, the authors analyzed data of 148 volunteers versus 1,195 nonvolunteers in a national sample of the Israeli Jewish population aged 75-94. As hypothesized, being a volunteer related (whether as a cause or ef...
Article
Psychological time consists of cognitive constructs, images, and symbolic representations. It has different dimensions such as the experience of time, time perspective, attitudes and beliefs toward time, and the individual's behavior relating to time. Psychological time undergoes changes throughout the life span and is an integral part of the psych...
Article
This study addressed long-term effects of extreme trauma among Holocaust survivors (N = 126) in an older (75-94 years) sample of the Israeli Jewish population. Survivors were compared with European-descent groups that had immigrated either before World War II (n = 206) or after (n = 145). Participants in the latter group had had Holocaust-related l...
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Full-text available
Subjective well-being (SWB) is evaluation of life in terms of satisfaction and balance between positive and negative affect; psychological well-being (PWB) entails perception of engagement with existential challenges of life. The authors hypothesized that these research streams are conceptually related but empirically distinct and that combinations...
Article
This study explores current expressions of past trauma among Holocaust survivors. Medical records and extensive interviews were analyzed for 38 Holocaust survivors who were hospitalized and/or under ambulatory care. The sample consisted of 55% women and 45% men whose mean age was 72 (SD = 9.2). Expressions of Holocaust experience yielded two factor...
Article
The authors sought to identify a subgroup of women who are likely to experience psychological distress in the period around menopause. A sample of 189 women (mean age=49.49) was selected from the general population and rated for menopausal status, menopausal symptoms, depression, anxiety, perceived control, body image, and sex role. Menopausal symp...
Article
In a study of bonds with living versus deceased parents, Israeli adult children (aged 17 to 77 years) formed 3 groups with both parents alive, only mother alive, and both parents deceased. Questionnaires assessed relations with mother and father (363 participants completed bond intensity and 217 of them completed both bond intensity and bond evalua...
Article
In this study, a model that specified the effects of socioeconomic and psychological resources on physical and mental health was investigated. It was hypothesized that (a) both kinds of resources would affect physical and mental health more strongly in older than in younger adults, and that (b) socioeconomic resources would exert stronger effects i...
Article
This study addressed the issue of adjustment among Holocaust survivors by multidimensional assessment of subjective well-being (SWB). Participants were Israeli Holocaust survivors incidentally included in a life-span study (Group 1; n = 466) or purposely approached for studying Holocaust survivors (Group 2; n = 178). Comparison participants had imm...
Chapter
Subjective well-being (SWB) refers to the overall evaluation that people make about the quality of their life, generally by summing up their essential life experiences along a positive—negative continuum. Though SWB is widely considered indicative of mental health (Bryant & Veroff, 1984; Gurin, Veroff, & Feld, 1960), the exact relationship between...
Article
This study focused on launching processes as reflected in the reactions of Israeli parents to the drafting of their eldest son. A questionnaire tapping parents' reactions was constructed and administered to 237 couples. Factor analysis delineated eight substantive factors: Emotional Investment, Parent-Child Strains, Fostering Son's Maturity, Parent...
Article
The present study explored the factorial structure of the combined item pool of the Life Satisfaction Index A (LSIA) [1] and the Philadelphia Geriatric Center Morale Scale (PGCMS) [2], two prominent instruments for assessing subjective well-being (SWB) and formulating its structure among the elderly. The sample consisted of 830 older Israeli adults...
Article
This study investigated the expectations for changes among midlife men in the personal, familial and occupational domains. The study explored the predominance of and the interrelationships among such expectations, as well as the differentiation between men who expected change and those who did not. A questionnaire tapping various demographic and at...
Article
This study sought to differentiate between psychologists working with clients who are in either the fist or second half of life, focusing on various personal and psychological characteristics whose role remained equivocal. Two groups were delineated from an initial sample of 190 Israeli clinical psychologists. The first group (N = 46) worked with c...
Article
Rating scales relating to the individual's past, present, and future were administered to subjects aged 60 to 90; those who completed all ratings (N = 589) were compared with others who specifically failed to rate the future (N = 150). The groups were differentiated by age, gender, health, and marital status. Total subjective well-being did not dif...
Article
The “reluctant therapist” phenomenon has been suggested as one explanation for the insufficient provision of mental health services to the elderly. This study explored the motivation for work with the elderly in Israeli students and practitioners of clinical psychology. The results confirmed the lower motivation for treating elderly adults as compa...
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The author examined a method of predicting behavior, in which the responses of individuals who might conceivably perform certain behaviors were independently simulated by experts acquainted both with the individuals and with the predicted behaviors. Scores derived from belief questionnaires completed by the supervisors of 48 Israeli undergraduate s...
Article
Relating contentment to different points in life can provide the construct of life satisfaction with an essential time orientation. The Self-Anchoring Scale was used to rate life in the present, the past (five years before), and the future (five years ahead). Subjects were the respondents of five national surveys in Israel. The findings showed an a...
Article
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This study addresses itself to the question of how people conceive of time. On the basis of philosophical, scientific, and cultural positions, we identified those beliefs which contribute to the basic meanings of time and generate the specific themes by which time is conceptualized. A questionnaire of beliefs about time was completed by 392 student...