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As Old as You Feel: Age Identity in Middle and Later Life

John R. Logan, Russell Ward and Glenna Spitze
Social Forces
Vol. 71, No. 2 (Dec., 1992), pp. 451-467
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2580019
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2580019
Page Count: 17
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As Old as You Feel: Age Identity in Middle and Later Life
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Abstract

The factors influencing the identification of oneself as "old" have been studied extensively for people in their later life. This study extends the analysis to the middle years of life, when transitions may occur from age identities of young to middle-aged, as well as from middle-aged to old. It replicates previous findings for the effects of chronological age and poor health on older age identity. The study also demonstrates that having children is associated with a middle-aged (rather than young) identification, while not being married (largely due to widowhood or divorce) is associated with labeling oneself as old (rather than middle-aged). In the comparisons both of persons who identify themselves as young rather than middle-aged, and middle-aged rather than old, the older category of people have less happiness and lower life satisfaction, suggesting that these transitions are experienced negatively.

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