Hope for the future and avoidance of the present: associations with well-being in older adults

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Positive psychology and third wave cognitive behavioral therapy approaches have seldom been applied to older adults. This study therefore examined whether two concepts drawn from these areas, hope for the future and avoidance in the present, were associated with well-being in a sample of 259 older adults (65–94 years). Hope was measured as a stable trait. Experiential avoidance was measured as avoidance of present internal and external events. Respondents also completed two well-being measures: hedonic (positive and negative affect) and eudeimonic (meaning in life). Path analyses showed that high hope was significantly associated with high positive affect, and high meaning in life; and high experiential avoidance was associated with high negative affect and low meaning in life. This was also true when both (hope and avoidance) were taken into account, along with sociodemographic variables and perceived health. Many of the pathways between hope and well-being, and between experiential avoidance and well-being appear to be bidirectional. However the path from hope to positive affect was stronger than that from positive affect to hope. Further research is needed to clarify each of these points. Both hope for the future and lack of avoidance in the present are important for well-being in older adulthood and interventions targeting these processes may enhance positive aging and contribute to a sense of having a meaningful life.

LanguageEnglish
Pages1485-1506
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Volume18
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

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well-being
present
adulthood
psychology
event
lack
health

Keywords

  • hope
  • experiential avoidance
  • older adults
  • meaning in life
  • positive affect
  • negative affect

Cite this

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title = "Hope for the future and avoidance of the present: associations with well-being in older adults",
abstract = "Positive psychology and third wave cognitive behavioral therapy approaches have seldom been applied to older adults. This study therefore examined whether two concepts drawn from these areas, hope for the future and avoidance in the present, were associated with well-being in a sample of 259 older adults (65–94 years). Hope was measured as a stable trait. Experiential avoidance was measured as avoidance of present internal and external events. Respondents also completed two well-being measures: hedonic (positive and negative affect) and eudeimonic (meaning in life). Path analyses showed that high hope was significantly associated with high positive affect, and high meaning in life; and high experiential avoidance was associated with high negative affect and low meaning in life. This was also true when both (hope and avoidance) were taken into account, along with sociodemographic variables and perceived health. Many of the pathways between hope and well-being, and between experiential avoidance and well-being appear to be bidirectional. However the path from hope to positive affect was stronger than that from positive affect to hope. Further research is needed to clarify each of these points. Both hope for the future and lack of avoidance in the present are important for well-being in older adulthood and interventions targeting these processes may enhance positive aging and contribute to a sense of having a meaningful life.",
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Hope for the future and avoidance of the present : associations with well-being in older adults. / Ferguson, Susan J.; Taylor, Alan J.; McMahon, Catherine.

In: Journal of Happiness Studies, Vol. 18, No. 5, 10.2017, p. 1485-1506.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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