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Felt Obligation to Help Others as a Protective Factor Against Losses in Psychological Well-being Following Functional Decline in Middle and Later Life

Emily A. Greenfield

Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
November 2009
This study examined felt obligation to help others in two domains (close others and society) as protective factors against losses in psychological well-being following functional decline. Lagged-dependent regression models were estimated using data from 849 respondents aged 3574 years and without any functional limitations at baseline in the 19952005 National Survey of Midlife in the United States. Greater felt obligation to help close others protected against declining self-acceptance in the face of more severe functional decline, and greater felt obligation to help society protected against declining personal growth and self-acceptance. Greater felt obligation to help close others and society protected against increasing depressive symptoms at younger ages in adulthood. Findings suggest the importance for additional research on how aspects of altruism can promote psychological adaptation to declining functional health in middle and later life. The entire article can be read here.

Emily A. Greenfield. "Felt Obligation to Help Others as a Protective Factor Against Losses in Psychological Well-being Following Functional Decline in Middle and Later Life." Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, Volume 64B: 723-732, 2009.



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