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Year of Publication
1.  Erratum 
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt124
PMCID: PMC3983923
2.  Neuropsychological Correlates of Complicated Grief in Older Spousally Bereaved Adults 
Objectives.
Across many research domains, evidence for complicated grief as a distinct psychopathology continues to grow. Previous research from neuropsychology has shown an increased attentional bias to emotionally relevant stimuli in those suffering from complicated grief. This study furthers our understanding of the characteristics that distinguish complicated grief. We expand on previous research by (a) testing older adults, (b) excluding those with comorbid major depressive disorder, (c) using participant-chosen grief-related stimuli, and (d) using a married, nonbereaved control group.
Methods.
We recruited 76 older adults in 3 groups: spousally bereaved with complicated grief, spousally bereaved with noncomplicated grief, and nonbereaved controls. Performance on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task, Digit Span Backwards, and the emotional counting Stroop was examined.
Results.
Results indicate longer reaction time across 3 blocks of grief-related words in the complicated grief group but no difference across 3 blocks of the neutral words. The 3 groups performed comparably on the other neurocognitive tasks, indicating no cognitive differences in working memory or set shifting between groups. Furthermore, these effects of complicated grief generalize to older adults and appear independent of major depression.
Discussion.
Complicated grief has cognitive interference as a neuropsychological component highlighting it as distinct from noncomplicated grief.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt025
PMCID: PMC3968854  PMID: 23551907
Aging; Attention; Bereavement; Complicated grief; Stroop; Widow.
3.  Patterns of Widowhood Mortality 
Objectives.
Becoming widowed is a known risk factor for mortality. This article examines the magnitude of, explanations for, and variation in the association between widowhood and mortality. Previous research on widowhood mortality has revealed variation by socioeconomic status (SES), in that SES is not protective in widowhood, and by gender, such that men’s mortality increases more than women’s mortality after the death of spouse.
Method.
Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, we estimated Cox proportional hazard models to estimate the association between widowhood and mortality.
Results.
Becoming widowed is associated with a 48% increase in risk of mortality. Approximately one third of the increase can be attributed to selection, in that those who become widows are socioeconomically disadvantaged. In contrast to previous studies, SES is protective for widows. Widowhood mortality risk increases for men if their wives’ deaths were unexpected rather than expected; for women, the extent to which their husbands’ death was expected matters less.
Discussion.
Widowhood’s harmful association with mortality show how strongly social support and individual’s health and mortality are related. These findings support the larger literature on the importance of social support for health and longevity.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt079
PMCID: PMC3968855  PMID: 24077660
Key Words:; Hazard model; Marital status; Mortality; Social support; Widowhood.
4.  Widowhood, Age Heterogamy, and Health: The Role of Selection, Marital Quality, and Health Behaviors 
Objective.
Although the impact of widowhood on the surviving spouse’s health has been widely documented, there is little empirical research examining whether certain spousal choice decisions and marital sorting patterns predispose individuals to be more vulnerable to the adverse consequences of widowhood for health.
Design and Method.
We use data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study and employ ordinary least squares models to (a) document variations in mental and physical health between married and widowed persons, (b) determine whether widowed persons in age heterogamous unions are especially vulnerable to the adverse consequences of widowhood, and (c) investigate to what extent differential selection, marital quality, and health practices account for health disparities by marital status and the spousal age gap.
Results.
Widowed persons, especially those in age heterogamous unions, have worse mental health than married persons, but they do not seem to be more disadvantaged in terms of physical health. Differential selection, marital quality, and health behaviors partly account for some of the health disparities by marital status and spousal age gap.
Discussion.
Our findings suggest that marrying a spouse who is very dissimilar in age may enhance one’s vulnerability to the adverse consequences of widowhood for health.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt104
PMCID: PMC3894121  PMID: 24128991
Age heterogamy; Health; Marital quality; Widowhood.
5.  Friend and Family Contact and Support in Early Widowhood 
Objectives.
This study explored the relative contributions of friends and family to the social and emotional well-being of women and men in the first 2–6 months following the death of their spouse or partner.
Methods.
Three hundred and twenty-eight widowed men (39%) and women aged 50 and older completed self-administered questionnaires that included measures of contact and satisfaction with friends and family, as well as measures of affective (i.e., grief and depression) and self-evaluative (i.e., coping self-efficacy, mastery, self-esteem) responses to loss.
Results.
Regression analyses supported the positive features of social support and interaction but particularly highlight the role of friends: ease of contact and satisfaction with friendship support were associated with more positive self-evaluative aspects of loss; greater frequency of friendship help was associated with more negative affective reactions, whereas higher satisfaction with friendship support was associated with more positive affective reactions.
Discussion.
These analyses support the voluntary and socializing functions of friendship and social support, bolstering individuals during stressful life transitions, advancing our understanding of the underexamined and particularly distinct functions of friendship in the early phases of spousal loss.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt078
PMCID: PMC3894122  PMID: 24170717
Friendship; Grief; Kinship; Self-evaluation.
6.  Do Afterlife Beliefs Affect Psychological Adjustment to Late-Life Spousal Loss? 
Objectives.
We explore whether beliefs about the existence and nature of an afterlife affect 5 psychological symptoms (anxiety, anger, depression, intrusive thoughts, and yearning) among recently bereaved older spouses.
Method.
We conduct multivariate regression analyses using data from the Changing Lives of Older Couples (CLOC), a prospective study of spousal loss. The CLOC obtained data from bereaved persons prior to loss and both 6 and 18 months postloss. All analyses are adjusted for health, sociodemographic characteristics, and preloss marital quality.
Results.
Bleak or uncertain views about the afterlife are associated with multiple aspects of distress postloss. Uncertainty about the existence of an afterlife is associated with elevated intrusive thoughts, a symptom similar to posttraumatic distress. Widowed persons who do not expect to be reunited with loved ones in the afterlife report significantly more depressive symptoms, anger, and intrusive thoughts at both 6 and 18 months postloss.
Discussion.
Beliefs in an afterlife may be maladaptive for coping with late-life spousal loss, particularly if one is uncertain about its existence or holds a pessimistic view of what the afterlife entails. Our findings are broadly consistent with recent work suggesting that “continuing bonds” with the decedent may not be adaptive for older bereaved spouses.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt063
PMCID: PMC3894123  PMID: 23811692
Afterlife beliefs; Bereavement; Coping; Psychological distress; Widowhood.
7.  Do Special Occasions Trigger Psychological Distress Among Older Bereaved Spouses? An Empirical Assessment of Clinical Wisdom 
Objectives.
Mental health professionals have suggested that widowed persons experience heightened psychological distress on dates that had special meaning for them and their late spouse, such as a wedding anniversary or the late spouse’s birthday. This study examined the effects of such occasions on grief, anxiety, and depressive symptoms in a community sample of older widowed persons.
Methods.
OLS regression models were estimated using data from the Changing Lives of Older Couples (CLOC) study, a large prospective probability study of late-life widowhood. Participants were interviewed prior to and both 6 and 18 months after spousal loss; married matched controls were interviewed at comparable times.
Results.
Widowed persons reported heightened psychological distress when interviewed during the month of their late spouse’s birthday, a post-holiday period (January), and in June, a month associated with wedding anniversaries and graduations in the United States. The distressing effects of special occasions on psychological symptoms were evidenced only within the first 6 months postloss, and were not apparent at the 18-month follow-up.
Discussion.
Our results support the clinical observation that persons in the early stages of spousal bereavement are at increased risk of psychological distress at times with special significance to the couple. We highlight methodological and clinical implications.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt061
PMCID: PMC3894124  PMID: 23811691
Bereavement; Birthdays; Depressive symptoms; Grief; Holidays; Widowhood.
8.  Bereavement-Related Regret Trajectories Among Widowed Older Adults 
Objectives.
Although regrets and unfinished business with a deceased spouse are frequently discussed as crucial determinants of one’s postloss adjustment, there have been few empirical investigations of bereavement-related regrets. This present study aimed to investigate the longitudinal course of these regrets and their correlates among widowed older adults.
Methods.
Drawing upon information from 201 widowed older adults in the Changing Lives of Older Couples study, this present study used latent class growth analysis to identify unique longitudinal trajectories of regret from 6 to 48 months postloss and examine differences between these trajectories with regard to grief and depressive symptomatology.
Results.
Three distinct bereavement-related regret trajectories were identified, characterized by Stable Low Regret, Stable High Regret, and Worsening High Regret. Results revealed that those in the Worsening High Regret group, whose bereavement-related regrets were exacerbated during the study, had the poorest grief outcomes. No differences were observed between these groups with regard to depressive symptoms, indicating that regret may be a unique marker of difficulties in the grieving process.
Discussion.
These findings highlight the importance of periodically reassessing bereavement-related regrets (and perhaps other aspects of the continued relationship with the deceased) over time and support the rationale behind interventions designed to facilitate resolution of these issues.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt050
PMCID: PMC3894125  PMID: 23766434
Continuing bonds; Death and dying; Marital quality; Regret; Unfinished business.
9.  Widowhood and Depression: New Light on Gender Differences, Selection, and Psychological Adjustment 
Objectives.
To document short- and long-term trajectories of depressive symptoms following widowhood and to test whether these trajectories vary by gender and anticipatory spousal loss.
Method.
Eight waves of prospective panel data from the Health and Retirement Study, over a 14-year period, are used to evaluate gender differences in depressive symptoms following widowhood in late midlife. Short-term trajectories are modeled using a linear regression of change in Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) score on duration of widowhood. Long-term trajectories are modeled using a mixed-effects hierarchical linear model of CES-D scores over time.
Results.
We find no gender differences in bereavement effects on depressive symptoms in either short or long term, net of widowhood duration. When spousal death is anticipated, both men and women return to their prewidowhood levels of depressive symptoms within 24 months of becoming widowed. Across marital groups, the continuously married are better off compared with the widowed even prior to spousal loss, whereas early, long-term widowhood is associated with worse outcomes compared with late widowhood.
Discussion.
Although men and women do not differ in trajectories of depressive symptoms following widowhood, given similar circumstances, women are distinctly disadvantaged in that they are more likely to become widowed and under less favorable conditions.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt058
PMCID: PMC3894126  PMID: 23811294
Adjustment; Bereavement; Depression; Gender differences; Widowhood.
10.  Synchrony in Affect Among Stressed Adults: The Notre Dame Widowhood Study 
Objectives.
This study examined 3 types of synchrony (i.e., asynchrony, synchrony, and desynchrony) between positive and negative affect in a sample of adult widows and assessed whether individual differences in synchrony type predicted adjustment over time.
Methods.
Participants included 34 widows from the Notre Dame Widowhood Study, who reported on their positive and negative affect across a 98-day period following conjugal loss and responded to follow-up questionnaires every 4 months for 1 year.
Results.
Multilevel models revealed that although the nomothetic average of the synchrony scores indicated a negative or desynchronous relationship between positive and negative affect, an ideographic view identified evidence of individual differences. Furthermore, patterns of change in the relationship between positive and negative affect suggested that, over time, desynchrony in affect generally abates for widows but individual differences were predictive of adjustment over time. Furthermore, distinct trajectories that the women follow from the time of their husband’s death include patterns of resilience and delayed negative reaction, each of which predicted present levels of grief.
Discussion.
Discussion focuses on (a) individual differences in the within-person structure in affect, (b) the dynamic processes involving negative and positive affect, and (c) the predictive power of synchrony scores.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt026
PMCID: PMC3894127  PMID: 23685922
Affective synchrony; Positive and negative affect; Resilience; Stress.
11.  Feeling Lonely Versus Being Alone: Loneliness and Social Support Among Recently Bereaved Persons 
Objectives.
Despite increases in social support following widowhood, loneliness is among the most frequently reported challenges of bereavement. This analysis explores the dynamic relationship between social support and loneliness among recently bereaved older adults.
Methods.
Using longitudinal data from “Living After Loss” (n = 328), latent growth curve modeling was used to estimate changes in loneliness and social support during the first year and a half of bereavement among older adults aged 50+.
Results.
Both loneliness and social support declined over the first year and a half of bereavement. Greater social support was associated with lower levels of loneliness overall, but the receipt of social support did not modify one’s expression of loneliness over time. Loneliness was more highly correlated with support from friends than family. Together, social support from both friends and family accounted for 36% of the total variance in loneliness.
Discussion.
There is conceptual and empirical overlap between the concepts of loneliness and social support, but results suggest that loneliness following widowhood cannot be remedied by interventions aimed only at increasing social support. Social support, especially that from friends, appears to be most effective if it is readily accessible and allows the newly bereaved an opportunity to express him/herself.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt075
PMCID: PMC3894128  PMID: 24056690
Bereavement; Loneliness; Social support; Widowhood.
12.  Daily Emotional and Physical Reactivity to Stressors Among Widowed and Married Older Adults 
Objectives.
Widowhood may result in declines in health and potentially stressful changes to daily routines. However, little research has examined how daily stressors contribute to physical and emotional well-being in widowhood. The objectives of the current study were to examine daily stressor exposure and reactivity in widowed versus married older adults.
Method.
Participants included all 100 widowed and 342 married adults aged 65 and older from the National Study of Daily Experiences, a daily diary study from the second wave of the Midlife in the United States. Daily stressors were measured using the Daily Inventory of Stressful Events; multilevel modeling assessed daily reactivity to stressors using daily negative affect (emotional reactivity) and daily physical symptoms (physical reactivity) as outcomes.
Results.
Married participants reported more stressors in general, and specifically more interpersonal stressors (e.g., arguments). Both married and widowed participants were reactive to daily stressors. Married participants were physically and emotionally reactive to interpersonal stressors. Widowed participants were more physically reactive to home-related stressors.
Discussion.
Attention to the types of daily stressors that widowed older adults experience in daily life and the potential physical effects of daily stressors during widowhood may help to alleviate some of the physical distress that widowed older adults may experience.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt035
PMCID: PMC3894129  PMID: 23685921
Stress; Well-being; Widowhood; Daily diary.
13.  The Unique Impact of Late-Life Bereavement and Prolonged Grief on Diurnal Cortisol 
Objectives.
This study expands on previous research by examining the effects of prolonged grief disorder (PGD) symptoms and bereavement on diurnal cortisol patterns above and beyond depressive symptomatology.
Methods.
Drawing on information from 56 depressed older adults, 3 groups were compared: (1) a depressed nonbereaved group, (2) a depressed bereaved without elevated PGD symptoms group, and (3) a depressed bereaved with elevated PGD symptoms group. Multilevel modeling was used to examine differences in diurnal cortisol profiles between these 3 groups, controlling for demographic factors and depressive symptoms.
Results.
Results revealed that those who were bereaved had more dysregulated cortisol patterns, but PGD symptomatology seemed to have little effect. Subsidiary analysis with just the bereaved participants suggests that those who were recently widowed may have had greater cortisol dysregulation compared with other bereaved individuals in the sample.
Discussion.
These findings suggest that the circumstance of being bereaved may be associated with more dysregulated cortisol, regardless of PGD symptomatology. This pattern of results might reflect greater disturbance in daily routines among bereaved individuals and acute stress in the case of those experiencing the recent loss of a spouse, which leads to disruption in circadian rhythms and the diurnal cycle of cortisol.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt051
PMCID: PMC3894130  PMID: 23740094
Biomarkers; Death and dying; Widowhood; Salivary cortisol; Complicated grief.
14.  How Widowhood Shapes Adult Children’s Responses to Mothers’ Preferences for Care 
Objectives.
We examine whether recently widowed mothers who needed assistance for a chronic condition, serious illness, or injury were more likely to receive care from the children they preferred as caregivers than were mothers who were divorced or had been widowed for a longer period of time.
Method.
Data were analyzed from 130 widowed or divorced mothers aged 72–83 in the second wave of the Within-Family Differences Study, all of whom reported needing assistance for a chronic condition or a serious illness or injury within 2 years prior to T2.
Results.
The findings provided evidence that recent widowhood shapes patterns of caregiving. Analyses revealed that mothers who had been widowed within 4 years were substantially more likely to receive care from adult children whom they had identified several years earlier as preferred caregivers than were mothers who were divorced or had been widowed 4 or more years.
Discussion.
Research has shown that mothers are at an increased risk for declining psychological well-being when caregiving preferences are not met. Findings from this study suggest that mothers who are divorced or have been widowed for several years may be at greater risk for violation of their caregiving preferences, increasing their vulnerability to declines in psychological well-being.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt062
PMCID: PMC3894131  PMID: 23825053
Widowhood; Caregiving; Parent; Adult child relations; Parental favoritism.
15.  Widowed Mothers’ Coresidence With Adult Children 
Objectives.
Coresidence is one way that middle-aged offspring assist vulnerable, aging parents. This study investigated which characteristics of widowed mothers and adult children predict coresidence. When coresidence occurred, the analysis explored how individual children’s characteristics were associated with their coresidence with the mother.
Method.
Survey data from adults 53–54 years old in 1993 (N = 2,324) and a random sibling reported about their living situation, other siblings, and their mother, median age 80.
Results.
Logistic regressions revealed that mothers in poor health, who were older, and who had a daughter were more likely to live with a child. Among coresiding families, results from discrete choice conditional logit models showed that widowed mothers were more likely to live with an unmarried son than an unmarried daughter. Married children were less likely to coreside than unmarried children, but married daughters were more likely than married sons to coreside. Past receipt of financial help from parents was not associated with coresidence. Coresidence was more likely for those with a close relationship with the mother.
Discussion.
The discussion considers coresidence as an intergenerational transfer and its importance for the contemporary aging society. Data are needed on characteristics of all offspring to test theories about parent–child relationships.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt072
PMCID: PMC3894132  PMID: 24013798
Demography; Intergenerational relations; Living arrangements; Widowhood.
16.  Personality Traits and Chronic Disease: Implications for Adult Personality Development 
Objective.
Personality traits have been associated with chronic disease. Less is known about the longitudinal relation between personality and disease and whether chronic disease is associated with changes in personality.
Method.
Participants from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (N = 2,008) completed the Revised NEO Personality Inventory and a standard medical interview at regularly scheduled visits; the Charlson Comorbidity Index, a weighted sum of 19 serious diseases, was derived from this interview. Using data from 6,685 visits, we tested whether personality increased risk of disease and whether disease was associated with personality change.
Results.
Measured concurrently, neuroticism and conscientiousness were associated with greater disease burden. The impulsiveness facet of neuroticism was the strongest predictor of developing disease across the follow-up period: For every standard deviation increase in impulsiveness, there was a 26% increased risk of developing disease and a 36% increased risk of getting more ill. Personality traits changed only modestly with disease: As participants developed chronic illnesses, they became more conservative (decreased openness).
Discussion.
This research indicates that personality traits confer risk for disease, in part, through health-risk behaviors. These traits, however, were relatively resistant to the effect of serious disease.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt036
PMCID: PMC3805287  PMID: 23685925
Disease burden; Illness; Openness; Personality change; Personality traits.
17.  Association Between Childhood School Segregation and Changes in Adult Sense of Control in the African American Health Cohort 
Objective.
Cross-sectional associations between childhood school segregation and adult sense of control and physical performance have been established in the African American Health (AAH) cohort. Here we extend that work by estimating the association between childhood school segregation and 2-year changes in adult sense of control.
Method.
Complete data on 541 older AAH men and women were used to estimate the association between childhood school segregation and changes in the sense of control. Exposure to segregation was self-reported in 2004, and the sense of control was measured in 2008 and 2010 using Blom rank transformations of Mirowsky and Ross’ 8-item scale. Declining subjective income and experiencing major life stressors between 2008 and 2010, as well as traditional covariates (demographic factors, socioeconomic status, self-rated health, racial attitudes and beliefs, and religiosity) were included for statistical adjustment. Multiple linear regression analysis with propensity score reweighting was used.
Results.
Receiving the majority of one’s primary and secondary education in segregated schools had a significant net positive association (d = 0.179; p = .029) with 2-year changes in adult sense of control.
Conclusion.
AAH participants receiving the majority of their primary and secondary educations in segregated schools appeared to have been protected, in part, from age-related declines in the sense of control.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt089
PMCID: PMC3805289  PMID: 24056692
African Americans; Longitudinal cohort; School segregation; Sense of control.
18.  Direct Social Support and Long-term Health Among Middle-Aged and Older Adults With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus 
Objectives.
This study examined whether or not direct social support is associated with long-term health among middle-aged and older adults with diabetes mellitus.
Method.
Direct social support was assessed at baseline (2003) for 1,099 adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus from the Health and Retirement Study. Self-reported health status was examined at baseline and in 4 biennial survey waves (2003–2010). A series of ordinal logistic regression models examined whether or not the 7-item Diabetes Care Profile scale was associated with a subsequent change in health status over time. Additional analyses examined whether or not individual components of direct social support were associated with health status change.
Results.
After adjusting for baseline covariates, greater direct social support as measured by the Diabetes Care Profile was associated with improved health outcomes over time; however, this trend was not significant (p = .06). The direct social support measures that were associated with improved health over follow-up were support for taking medicines (odds ratio [OR] = 1.22), physical activity (OR = 1.26), and going to health care providers (OR = 1.22; all p < .05).
Discussion.
Interventions that specifically target improving specific aspects of diabetes social support may be more effective in improving long-term health than less targeted efforts.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt100
PMCID: PMC3805290  PMID: 24150176
Diabetes; Regimen; Self-rated health; Social support.
19.  “You Are Such a Disappointment!”: Negative Emotions and Parents’ Perceptions of Adult Children’s Lack of Success 
Objectives.
Parents’ perceptions of their adult children’s successes (or lack thereof) may be associated in different ways with discrete negative emotions (e.g., guilt, anger, disappointment, and worry). Furthermore, mothers and fathers may vary in their reactions to children’s success in different domains.
Method.
Participants included 158 mothers and fathers from the same families (N = 316) and their adult child. Mothers and fathers evaluated their adult children’s successes in (a) career and (b) relationship domains. Mothers and fathers also reported on several negative emotions in the parent–child tie: guilt, anger, disappointment, and worry.
Results.
For fathers, perceptions of children’s poorer career success were associated with disappointment, anger, and guilt. Mothers’ perceptions of children’s lack of career success were associated with disappointment and worry. Mothers’ perceptions of children’s poorer success in relationships were associated with each of the negative emotions, with the exception of anger.
Discussion.
Parents experience emotions associated with unmet goals and future concerns in relationships with less successful children. Mothers may respond emotionally to career and relationship success, whereas fathers may respond emotionally primarily to their child’s career success. Findings underscore the importance of considering the context of parents’ negative emotional experiences in ties to adult children.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt053
PMCID: PMC3805291  PMID: 23733857
Achievements; Negative emotions; Parent–adult child relationships; Success.
20.  Help With “Strings Attached”: Offspring Perceptions That Middle-Aged Parents Offer Conflicted Support 
Objectives.
Middle-aged adults often provide beneficial support to grown children. Yet, in some relationships, grown children may feel beholden or intruded upon when they receive parental help. The purpose of this study was to examine such conflicted support in relationships between middle-aged parents and young adults.
Methods.
Middle-aged parents (aged 40–60, n = 399) and their grown children (n = 592) participated. Parents rated perceptions of providing support and relationship quality with each child. Grown children indicated whether their mothers and fathers provided conflicted support and rated their perceptions of parental support, relationship quality, and other factors.
Results.
Multilevel models revealed that offspring’s perceptions of conflicted support were associated with (a) parents’ evaluations about providing support (e.g., greater stress and beliefs that grown children should be autonomous), (b) poorer quality relationships, and (c) offspring having more problems.
Discussion.
Findings suggest that perceptions of conflicted support are embedded in a larger constellation of relationship problems and underlying distress for parents and children. These patterns may reflect lifelong difficulties in the tie or that arise in adulthood. Researchers might seek to understand how dyads experiencing such conflicted support differ from more normative relationships characterized by warmth and well-received support.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt032
PMCID: PMC3805292  PMID: 23707999
Family; Intergenerational relations; Personal relationships; Social support; Social exchanges; Intergenerational ambivalence.
21.  Are “Anti-Aging Medicine” and “Successful Aging” Two Sides of the Same Coin? Views of Anti-Aging Practitioners 
Objectives.
This article analyzes data from interviews with anti-aging practitioners to evaluate how their descriptions of the work they do, their definitions of aging, and their goals for their patients intersect with gerontological views of “successful aging.”
Method.
Semistructured interviews were conducted with a sample of 31 anti-aging practitioners drawn from the directory of the American Academy for Anti-Aging Medicine.
Results.
Qualitative analysis of the transcripts demonstrate that practitioners’ descriptions of their goals, intentionally or unintentionally, mimic the dominant models of “successful aging.” These include lowered risk of disease and disability, maintenance of high levels of mental and physical function, and continuing social engagement. Yet, the means and modes of achieving these goals differ markedly between the two groups, as do the messages that each group puts forth in defending their positions.
Discussion.
Anti-aging practitioners’ adoption of the rhetoric of successful aging reflects the success of successful aging models in shaping popular conceptions of what aging is and an ethos of management and control over the aging process. The overlap between anti-aging and successful aging rhetoric also highlights some of the most problematic social, cultural, and economic consequences of efforts made to reconceptualize old age.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt086
PMCID: PMC3805285  PMID: 24022620
Anti-aging; Hormone replacement; Prevention; Quality of life; Qualitative research.
22.  Family Ties and Health Cross-Nationally: The Contextualizing Role of Familistic Culture and Public Pension Spending in Europe 
Objectives.
Although previous research theorizes that cross-national variation in the relationship between family ties and health is due to nation-level differences in culture and policy/economics, no study has examined this theorization empirically.
Method.
Using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), this study uses multilevel modeling to analyze individual-, nation-, and cross-level effects for 30,291 older adults in 14 nations.
Results.
Family ties to spouses/partners and parents are associated with better health, but ties to coresident children are associated with poorer health in certain contexts. Familistic culture and public pension spending have a weak but statistically significant moderating effect on the relationship between intergenerational family ties and health.
Discussion.
This article underscores the complexity of family and highlights the need for continued theorization and measurement at the nation level to promote older adults’ health in diverse contexts.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt085
PMCID: PMC3805286  PMID: 24043356
Cultural factors; Family sociology; Health outcomes; Multilevel models; Pension expenditures.
23.  Care Recipient Agreeableness Is Associated With Caregiver Subjective Physical Health Status 
Objectives.
The emotional and physical health consequences of caring for a family member are well documented. However, although personality has been shown to affect dyadic interactions and been linked with individual outcomes for both care recipients (CRs) and caregivers (CGs), the influence of CR personality on CG health remains unexplored.
Method.
This study investigated cross-sectional associations between CRs’ five-factor personality traits and CGs’ physical and emotional health in 312 dyads of older adults with disability and their informal CGs who participated in the Medicare Primary and Consumer-Directed Care Demonstration.
Results.
Regression models controlling for CG personality, strain, and sociodemographic characteristics and CR physical impairment and pain found that agreeableness in CRs was associated with better physical health among CGs. Facet-level analyses showed specific associations between the trust and compliance facets of CR agreeableness and CG physical health. Investigation of CR personality styles revealed that the “easygoing” (N−, A+) and “well-intentioned” (A+, C−) styles predicted better CG physical health; the “leaders” (E+, A−) style had the opposite effect. No significant associations were found between CR personality and CG mental health.
Discussion.
Results from this study reveal the value of considering CR personality in relation to CG health and highlight the importance of assessing dispositional qualities within the context of care provision and informal assistance.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbs114
PMCID: PMC3805284  PMID: 23231831
Caregiving; Chronic illness; Five-factor model personality traits; Subjective health.
24.  Predictors of Dementia Caregiver Depressive Symptoms in a Population: The Cache County Dementia Progression Study 
Objectives.
Previous research has consistently reported elevated rates of depressive symptoms in dementia caregivers, but mostly with convenience samples. This study examined rates and correlates of depression at the baseline visit of a population sample of dementia caregivers (N = 256).
Method.
Using a modified version of Williams (Williams, I. C. [2005]. Emotional health of black and white dementia caregivers: A contextual examination. The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 60, P287–P295) ecological contextual model, we examined 5 contexts that have contributed to dementia caregiver depression. A series of linear regressions were performed to determine correlates of depression.
Results.
Rates of depressive symptoms were lower than those reported in most convenience studies. We found fewer depressive symptoms in caregivers with higher levels of education and larger social support networks, fewer health problems, greater likelihood of using problem-focused coping, and less likelihood of wishful thinking and with fewer behavioral disturbances in the persons with dementia.
Discussion.
These results suggest that depression may be less prevalent in populations of dementia caregivers than in clinic-based samples, but that the correlates of depression are similar for both population and convenience samples. Interventions targeting individuals with small support networks, emotion-focused coping styles, poorer health, low quality of life, and those caring for persons with higher numbers of behavioral problems need development and testing.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbs116
PMCID: PMC3894110  PMID: 23241850
Caregiving; Dementia; Depression; Population study.
25.  False Memory in Aging Resulting From Self-Referential Processing 
Objectives.
Referencing the self is known to enhance accurate memory, but less is known about how the strategy affects false memory, particularly for highly self-relevant information. Because older adults are more prone to false memories, we tested whether self-referencing increased false memories with age.
Method.
In 2 studies, older and younger adults rated adjectives for self-descriptiveness and later completed a surprise recognition test comprised of words rated previously for self-descriptiveness and novel lure words. Lure words were subsequently rated for self-descriptiveness in order to assess the impact of self-relevance on false memory. Study 2 introduced commonness judgments as a control condition, such that participants completed a recognition test on adjectives rated for commonness in addition to adjectives in the self-descriptiveness condition.
Results.
Across both studies, findings indicate an increased response bias to self-referencing that increased hit rates for both older and younger adults but also increased false alarms as information became more self-descriptive, particularly for older adults.
Discussion.
Although the present study supports previous literature showing a boost in memory for self-referenced information, the increase in false alarms, especially in older adults, highlights the potential for memory errors, particularly for information that is strongly related to the self.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt018
PMCID: PMC3805288  PMID: 23576449
Aging; False memory; Self-reference.

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