As individuals age, they undergo transitions in many aspects of their lives. These transitions include social, economic and health transitions. People review their lives, and reflect on past choices. Future time is limited by the increasing proximity to end of life. This may lead to regrets and, in people with the ability to use compensatory mechanisms, a redoubling of efforts to achieve valued goals or a reprioritization of valued goals. In the context of aging, individuals' past, present, and future-oriented subjective well-being (SWB) may change. There is an incomplete understanding of the relationship of SWB, intra- and inter- personal resources, and outcomes, (particularly health and healthcare-cost outcomes). These issues have complicated the use of SWB measures and we are left with traditional metrics such as life expectancy, infant mortality, wealth, and poverty to assess healthy aging, resulting in an incomplete picture of healthy aging. The project will examine the relationships among SWB, intra- and inter-personal resources, and health and healthcare-cost outcomes. It will advance the understanding of SWB and its role in healthy aging in order to assist policy makers in valuing the potential benefits of improving SWB on health and healthcare costs. We will accomplish this through the following specific aim:
Aim 1 : To determine how SWB (past, present, and future-oriented): (1) is affected by life transitions, and (2) affects outcomes after life transitions.
Traditional metrics such as life expectancy; infant mortality; wealth; and poverty do not present a complete picture of healthy aging. In particular; they do not capture SWB: the valuations individuals make regarding their lives; events happening to them; their bodies and minds; and the circumstances in which they live. The successful completion of this project will provide tools to measure past; present; and future oriented SWB and will advance understanding of SWB and its role in healthy aging. It will assist policy makers in valuing the potential benefits of improving SWB on health and healthcare costs.
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