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Developmental Regulation With Progressive Vision Loss: Use of Control Strategies and Affective Well-Being

  • Author(s): Schilling, OK
  • Wahl, H-W
  • Boerner, K
  • Horowitz, A
  • Reinhardt, JP
  • Cimarolli, VR
  • Brennan-Ing, M
  • Heckhausen, J
  • et al.
Abstract

The present study addresses older adults' developmental regulation when faced with progressive and irreversible vision loss. We used the motivational theory of life span development as a conceptual framework and examined changes in older adults' striving for control over everyday goal achievement, and their association with affective well-being, in a sample of 364 older adults diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration. Using longitudinal data from 5 occasions at 6-month intervals, we examined intraindividual change in control strategies, and how it was related to change in affective well-being, in terms of self-rated happiness and depressive symptoms. Mixed model analyses confirmed our hypotheses that (a) intraindividual change, particularly in selective primary control and in compensatory secondary control (CSC), predict change toward higher happiness ratings and lower depression; and (b) as functional abilities (instrumental activities of daily living) declined, CSC became increasingly predictive of better affective well-being. Overall, the findings suggest that CSC strategies are essential for maintaining affective well-being when physical functioning declines. Intensified selective primary control striving may be effective to achieve goals that have become difficult to reach but are not associated with affective well-being, possibly because struggling with difficulties undermines the experience of enjoyable mastery. In contrast, goal adjustments and self-protective thinking may help to find pleasure even from restricted daily activities. (PsycINFO Database Record

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