Over the hill and still "liming": psychological well-being in young, middle-aged and older adult Trinidadians
Keywords:Psychological well-being, Aging, Culture, Trinidadians
In 2010 in Trinidad and Tobago individuals over 60 years-old represented 10% of the population. This figure is expected to reach 20% by the year 2025 (World Health Statistics, 2011). Late life is often characterized by decline and disease, but gains in human potential and functioning (i.e., psychological well-being, PWB) in older adulthood are possible (Baltes, 1987). Thus, the goal of the current study was to examine Trinidadian adult age group differences in three components of PWB: self-acceptance, positive relations with others, and purpose in life (Ryff, 1989). Older adults were expected to have higher acceptance of themselves, and relations with others that are as positive, if not better than, other age groups. Lower sense of purpose in one's life was expected in old age. The study sample consisted of 242 participants residing in Trinidad between the ages of 18 and 74 years-old (M = 36.84, SD = 16.35). The country's major ethnic groups were represented. Socio-demographic variables and PWB were assessed with self-report measures as part of a larger study. It was found that older adults reported lower levels of self-acceptance and purpose in life compared to young and middle-aged adults, whom did not differ. There were, however, no age group differences in how positively people viewed relationships with others. Older adults were just as likely as young and middle-aged adults to have healthy, positive relationships. Results remained relatively consistent even when controlling for socio-demographic variables (e.g., education, income, health, etc.) related to age and PWB. No ethnic group differences emerged. The pattern of gains and losses in PWB in late life are discussed, focusing on why older adult Trinidadians do not demonstrate levels of self-acceptance seen in other cultures, and the potential role that positive relations and 'the lime' may have across adulthood for the PWB of Trinidadians.
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