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Phenomenology and the meaning of aging for young and old adults

Phenomenology and the meaning of aging for young and old adults

International Journal of Aging and Human Development 47(4): 263-277

Qualitative methods were used to examine the similarities and differences in the meaning of aging for young and old adults. Nineteen young adults and seventeen older adults were asked to describe in detail a specific event or time in their lives that suggested to them that they were aging. Their responses were reduced to significant statements by two independent coders, until a thematic structure became apparent. Younger adults associated aging with major events in their lives, and even though these events tended to be positive, aging had a negative meaning for them. Young adults tended to associate aging with increased responsibility and lost freedom. By contrast, older adults associated aging with everyday events or no specific events at all, and they perceived aging positively. Both young and old adults mentioned themes of times, the body, and others.

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Accession: 046973498

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PMID: 10198805

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