Optimism and well-being in older adults

The mediating role of social support and perceived control

Susan Ferguson*, Andrea Goodwin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Citations (Scopus)


To investigate how psychosocial resources may improve well-being for older adults, this study explored the relationship among questionnaire measures of optimism, social support and perceptions of control in predicting subjective well-being (measured with the positive affect subscale of the Affect Balance Scale) (Bradburn, 1969) and psychological well-being (measured with the purpose in life scale of the Ryff Psychological Well-being scales) (Ryff, Lee, Essex, & Schmutte, 1994) among older adults. The potential mediating roles of perceived social support and perception of control were also explored. Participants were 225 adults aged from 65 to 94 years. Optimism was found to be a predictor of both subjective and psychological well-being, and perceived social support was found to mediate the relationship between optimism and subjective well-being, but not psychological well-being. In contrast, perception of control was found to mediate the relationship between optimism and psychological well-being, but not subjective well-being. Longitudinal research is needed to confirm these pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-68
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


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