Getting What You Expect? Future Self-Views Predict the Valence of Life Events
Views on aging have been shown to predict the occurrence of events related to physical health in previous studies. Extending these findings, we investigated the relation between aging-related future self-views and life events in a longitudinal study across a range of different life domains. Participants (N = 593, age range 30 – 80 years at t1) completed a survey at 2 measurement occasions that were separated by a 4-year interval (t1: 2009, t2: 2013), providing information on domain-specific future self-views as well as on life events that had occurred in the respective domains in-between the 2 measurement occasions. Future self-views measured at t1 predicted the occurrence of subsequent life events corresponding in valence: Participants with more positive (negative) future self-views in a domain reported relatively more positive (negative) life events in the respective domain. In addition, individual differences in future self-views were reinforced by life events that were consistent with these self-views. Accordingly, future self-views can be interpreted in terms of self-fulfilling prophecies: They are related to the likelihood of encountering and remembering life events that further confirm the aging-related future self-views from which they originate. Our study demonstrates the importance of future self-views on aging for development-related outcomes that have an especially high impact on peoples’ lives.