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The world's population is aging, but quality of life in older adulthood is unequally distributed. Using measures of self-rated health and subjective well-being from Wave 6 (2010-2014) of the World Values Survey, we examine the individual and social factors that shape older adulthood in 57 countries. In addition to examining inequalities in health and well-being for older adults between countries, we examine the differences between older (50 and over) and younger adults (under 50) within countries. Aging well is not simply a fact of country wealth or personal income. We conduct multi-level analyses to determine which individual-level factors and which country-level factors impact health and well-being, and how these differ across age. We consider three sets of country-level factors: material conditions, culture, and societal disruptions. Overall, we find that older adults feel less healthy than younger adults, but older adults in countries that have experienced a transition to independence during their adulthood feel much less healthy than their under-50 counterparts. The same is true for life satisfaction. Although older adults do not necessarily feel more dissatisfied with their lives than do younger adults, they are much more dissatisfied in countries that transitioned. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of how altered life expectations affect aging.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Social science & medicine (1982)
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The process of aging due to changes in the structure and elasticity of the skin over time. It may be a part of physiological aging or it may be due to the effects of ultraviolet radiation, usually through exposure to sunlight.
Component of the NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH. Through basic and clinical biomedical research and training, it conducts and supports research into the nature of the aging process and diseases associated with the later stages of life. The Institute was established in 1974.
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