Age, aging, and the sense of control among older adults: A longitudinal reconsideration

Fredric D. Wolinsky, Kathleen W. Wyrwich, Ajit N. Babu, Kurt Kroenke, William M. Tierney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Scopus citations


Objectives. The purpose of this study was to first estimate the crude cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between age and the sense of control, and then to partition any joint variance attributable to a theoretically specified set of potential confounders. Methods. Sense of control was measured at baseline and at each of six bimonthly follow-up interviews among 1,662 patients at two medical centers. Potential confounders were measured at baseline. Analyses include descriptive assessments of level and normative stability, repeated measures analysis of covariance, and hierarchical multiple linear and change score regressions. Results. Although the sense of control is relatively stable between any two successive waves of data collection, significant gradual changes are observed over a 1-year period. Compelling evidence is found for statistically and substantively significant associations between age and the sense of control at baseline, and between age and changes in the sense of control over time. The only other major predictor of the sense of control is mental well-being. Discussion. Longitudinal studies with repeated assessments over prolonged observation periods are now needed to elucidate age-related trajectories in the sense of control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S212-S220
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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