Associations among individuals' perceptions of future time, individual resources, and subjective well-being in old age

Christiane A. Hoppmann, Frank J. Infurna, Nilam Ram, Denis Gerstorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Objectives: Perceptions of future time are of key interest to aging research because of their implications for subjective well-being. Interestingly, perceptions about future time are only moderately associated with age when looking at the second half of life, pointing to a vast heterogeneity in future time perceptions among older adults. We examine associations between future time perceptions, age, and subjective well-being across two studies, including moderations by individual resources. Method: Using data from the Berlin Aging Study (N = 516; Mage = 85 years), we link one operationalization (subjective nearness to death) and age to subjective well-being. Using Health and Retirement Study data (N = 2,596; Mage = 77 years), we examine associations of another future time perception indicator (subjective future life expectancy) and age with subjective well-being. Results: Consistent across studies, perceptions of limited time left were associated with poorer subjective well-being (lower life satisfaction and positive affect; more negative affect and depressive symptoms). Importantly, individual resources moderated future time perception - subjective well-being associations with those of better health exhibiting reduced future time perception - subjective well-being associations. Discussion: We discuss our findings in the context of the Model of Strength and Vulnerability Integration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-399
Number of pages12
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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