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Generativity and Social Well-Being in Older Women: Expectations Regarding Aging Matter.



Beliefs about aging can contribute to health and well-being in older adults. Feeling generative, or that one is caring for and contributing to the well-being of others, can also impact health and well-being. In this study, we hypothesized that those with more positive expectations regarding aging (ERA) in the mental health domain would report greater levels of perceived social support (PSS) and lower levels of loneliness in response to a generativity intervention (vs control condition).


Participants in this study (n = 73, 100% female) were randomly assigned to a 6-week generativity condition, which involved writing about life experiences and sharing advice with others, or to a control condition, which involved writing about neutral topics. Pre- and postintervention, PSS, and feelings of loneliness were measured.


Those in the generativity condition with more positive ERA in the mental health domain reported greater PSS and lower loneliness postintervention.


These results highlight the importance of psychological factors, such as ERA, in moderating the efficacy of interventions to promote social well-being in older adults.

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