Time perspective and psychological well-being in younger and older adults

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Olivia Lee Pethtel, Marnie Moist, Stephen Baker


The purpose of the present study was to examine the present fatalistic time perspective as a mechanism that may partially account for age differences in purpose in life and personal growth. An additional purpose of this study was to explore the relations among age, time perspective, and psychological well-being. Seventy-five older adults (M=73.43, SD=7.91) and 77 younger adults (M=19.58, SD=1.19) completed surveys measuring time perspective (past positive, past negative, present fatalistic, present hedonistic, future) and psychological well-being (autonomy, environmental mastery, personal growth, positive relations with others, purpose in life, and self-acceptance). Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that the present fatalistic time perspective predicted purpose in life and personal growth above and beyond age and income. Several significant correlations were found among the time perspective and psychological well-being variables. Results showed that age was positively correlated with the past negative and present fatalistic time perspectives, but negatively correlated with the future time perspective. Results showed that age negatively correlated with purpose in life and personal growth, but positively correlated with autonomy. Results are discussed in light of socioemotional selectivity theory, theory of time perspective, and implications for incorporating time perspective into mental health counseling.

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