Self-Perceptions of Aging: Do Subjective Age and Satisfaction With Aging Change During Old Age?

The present study examined time-related change in felt age, physical age, and satisfaction with aging in old age and covariates of this change. Using 6-year-longitudinal data from the Berlin Aging Study (age range = 70–104 years), we found that individuals' felt age remained on average about 13 years below their actual age over time, whereas they reported a decreasing discrepancy between physical and actual age and a decrease in aging satisfaction over time. After we controlled for level differences, a differential pattern of individual differences in change appeared for the three dimensions: Age contributed to a greater decline in aging satisfaction but an increase in the discrepancy of felt age. A higher number of illnesses at baseline attenuated change in felt age discrepancy. Future research on change of self-perceptions of aging will provide insight into mechanisms of resilience of the aging self in later life.