Women’s Perceptions of Aging: Fears, Preferences and ConcernsO’Reilly, Nancy D., Thomlinson, Paul R., and Castrey, Margaret U
Presented July 28, 2004
American Psychological Association 2004 Annual Meeting
Given the paucity of existing research, the current study sought to map the terrain of women’s fears, preferences and concerns about aging. Nearly half of the sample surveyed, 1000 healthy primarily white women, said they feared getting older.
This fear was significantly associated with increased health concerns and abdominal problems; greater concern for appearance, and lack of confidence in future self-care ability. On average, participants indicated that they began to fear aging during their own previous decade of life.
Women in the 20–29 and 30–39 age cohorts had the highest rate of fear of aging, after which fear of getting older tended to decrease with subject age. Women aged 40–49 and 60–69 were most confident in their self-care ability.
Concerns about health problems and not having enough money were reported nearly three times as often as other concerns; and the patterns of concerns differed significantly by age and marital status. Implications for women’s health care, mental health, and self-care are discussed.