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Awareness of age-related change (AARC): measurement, conceptual status, and role for promoting successful aging




Brothers, Allyson F., author
Diehl, Manfred, advisor
Bielak, Allison, committee member
Fidler, Deborah, committee member
Henry, Kimberly, committee member

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Recent renewed interest has arisen regarding the ways in which individuals experience the process of growing older, an area of research known as subjective aging. A growing body of research shows a consistent pattern of results in which subjective aging exerts wide-reaching and consequential influence on both physical functioning as well as psychological well-being in later life. Historically, research has relied on simplistic, unidimensional measures, that while quite predictive of developmental outcomes, are somewhat of a 'black box' in that it is not understood exactly what information people rely on to make them. Therefore, the construct awareness of age-related change (AARC) was developed to yield insight into the specific behavioral domains in which aging experiences are noticed. Given the need for such a construct in the literature, the manuscript in Chapter 2 focuses on the development of a reliable and valid assessment tool to measure awareness of age-related change (AARC). Not only is such a construct more representative of leading theories in adult development and aging, it is also vital for understanding how people experience aging in different life domains. Therefore, the manuscript in Chapter 3 will explore how AARC is similar to and distinct from existing subjective aging constructs, and also how it is related to important physical and psychological outcome variables. Chapter 4 then extends the current state of research regarding subjective aging, which has largely been observational in nature, and attends to the issues of intervention design: Given the mounting evidence of the importance of attitudinal variables of aging, Chapter 4 explores the following questions: 1) Can more realistic and positive attitudes toward aging be promoted through intervention? and 2) Does modifying attitudes have tangible effects on health behavior promotion?


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