Theory on Aging Expectation and Attribution Among Older Adults

Johnny J. Yao Jr., DScN, DM, MN, RN
Velez College, Cebu City, Philippines


How people experience and perceive their own aging may affect future health outcomes and health behaviors. Furthermore, there are also several sources by which these expectations are formed and reshaped as one ages. A theory on aging expectation and attribution was developed by establishing axioms and constructing propositions. The evolved theory suggests that a person’s expectation regarding aging would influence health behaviors and subsequently a person’s over all well-being. The theory further suggests that individual experiences influence how these personal aging expectations are constructed and interpreted. A multiple case study and correlational studies were used to validate the assumptions of the theory. Older adults were recruited as participants who answered standardized questionnaires and were also interviewed. Data were analyzed using statistical and qualitative methods. 

Findings show that there are various sources such as personal, interpersonal, and sociocultural factors that shape aging expectations. Furthermore, results indicate that aging expectations predicts engagement in healthy lifestyles. Finally, aging expectations and engagement in healthy lifestyles predicts health-related quality of life. These findings validate the theory and suggest that having positive expectations is beneficial to the older adults. This further suggests that our experiences affect how we perceive the aging process and how we age. Programs to educate people about the differences between normal and abnormal changes in old age should be implemented to clarify negative aging stereotypes. Future studies are warranted to further validate and expand the theory.


​Keywords: aging expectations, aging stereotypes, aging beliefs, aging perceptions, multiple case study, mediation, aging attribution