Negative thoughts toward aging can affect your health, cognition
We all grow old, but our mood can affect our quality of life in our senior years, according to a recent study. Research from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging at Trinity College in Dublin revealed that older adults with negative thoughts toward aging have slower walking speed and decreased cognitive abilities, compared to older adults with an optimistic viewpoint.
“The way we think about, talk about, and write about aging may have direct effects on health. If negative attitudes towards aging are carried throughout life they can have a detrimental, measurable effect on mental, physical, and cognitive health,” says lead researcher Dr. Deirdre Robertson.
Researchers asked 4,135 men and women to complete a questionnaire called the Brief Aging Perceptions Questionnaire, and to undergo a cognitive test, along with being rated for levels of physical frailty.
The study found that negative thoughts of aging seemed to affect senior’s health conditions. Frail older adults with negative thoughts had worse cognition compared to the people who were not frail. Although, frail people with positive thoughts of aging had the same level of cognitive ability as the non-frail people.
“This is the latest of many studies published over the years that shows it is the expectation, not biology that leads many elderly people to set physical limitation on themselves,” says Dr. Chandragupta Vedak, a psychiatrist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.