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dc.contributor.advisorJoyce, Peter
dc.contributor.advisorSchluter, Philip
dc.contributor.advisorPearson, John
dc.contributor.authorThorpe, Anna Marie
dc.date.available2015-03-13T03:29:12Z
dc.date.copyright2015
dc.identifier.citationThorpe, A. M. (2015). Attitudes to Ageing: Relationships with Health and Health Behaviours in Midlife (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10523/5526en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10523/5526
dc.description.abstractThere is growing pressure to understand and protect the health of the world’s ageing population. Despite projected rapid population ageing in New Zealand, limited attention has been given to attitudes towards ageing. Attitudes towards ageing are a complex, personalised perspective on the experience of ageing over the life span, which may be positively related to health and life expectancy. This doctoral study explores the relationships between attitudes to ageing and health and health behaviours at midlife, using a broad Awareness of Age-Related Change framework (Diehl & Wahl, 2010). Key constructs in the subjective ageing literature are identified as attitudes towards ageing, attitudes towards age stereotypes, subjective age, age identity, and self-perceptions of ageing. Attitudes towards ageing measures are critically discussed under these constructs. The study aims to compare attitudes to ageing with reported findings and to identify which health conditions and health behaviours are most associated with attitudes to ageing in midlife. Data was collected through the Canterbury Health, Ageing and Lifecourse (CHALICE) study, a longitudinal study of health and wellbeing at midlife in New Zealand. Two hundred CHALICE participants were recruited in their fiftieth year for detailed health assessments. A range of attitude to ageing measures were examined in relation to socio-demographic factors, mental and physical health, prevalent chronic conditions in New Zealand, depression, and a selection of health behaviours. Attitudes to ageing from this midlife sample were similar, or positive, compared to the literature. Participants reported feeling an average of ten years younger than their chronological age, with an ideal age of 17 years younger. Seventy percent of participants felt positive about the experience of ageing. In line with actuarial data, subjective life expectancy showed differences by gender: male participants expected to live to a mean 79.5 years, compared to 81.7 years for females. Positive attitudes to ageing were found using the Attitude to Ageing Questionnaire (AAQ) to psychosocial loss, physical change and psychological growth domains (Laidlaw, Power, Schmidt et al., 2007), compared to similar-aged samples. The physical change domain of the AAQ showed the greatest relationships to health and health behaviours. Negative physical change attitudes to ageing were significantly related to hypertension, heart disease, arthritis, asthma, depression, obesity, smoking and frequent visits to the general practitioner (GP). Negative psychosocial loss attitudes were related to high cholesterol and depression. Negative psychological growth attitudes to ageing were associated only with frequent GP visits, but this relationship ceased once socio-demographic and health factors were controlled. An apparent paradox was detected, in which relatively positive attitudes to ageing were assessed in all measures, but co-existed alongside significantly poorer mental health, higher depression and higher hazardous drinking rates, during the stressful Canterbury earthquakes. This is the first study in New Zealand to report on selected attitudes to ageing measures. While the AAQ is increasingly used as a tool assessing attitudes towards ageing, participants are generally aged over 60 years. The AAQ was found to be a reliable instrument assessing attitudes to ageing in midlife. The AAQ has not previously been examined with a wide range of health conditions or health behaviours. This study makes an original contribution to the study of attitudes to ageing, in a world where there is significant population ageing and subsequent interest in understanding and protecting physical and mental health. Understanding people’s attitudes gives an important insight into the personalised experience of ageing over the life span and how people anticipate their social, physical and psychological futures.
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectAttitudes to Ageing
dc.subjecthealth
dc.subjecthealth behaviours
dc.subjectmidlife
dc.titleAttitudes to Ageing: Relationships with Health and Health Behaviours in Midlife
dc.typeThesis
dc.date.updated2015-03-12T20:31:16Z
dc.language.rfc3066en
thesis.degree.disciplinePsychological Medicine
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophy
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Otago
thesis.degree.levelDoctoral
otago.openaccessOpen
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