Genetic and Environmental Sources of Individual Differences in Views on Aging

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Abstract

Views on aging are central psychosocial variables in the aging process, but knowledge about their determinants is still fragmental. Thus, the authors investigated the degree to which genetic and environmental factors contribute to individual differences in various domains of views on aging (wisdom, work, fitness, and family), and whether these variance components vary across ages. They analyzed data from 350 monozygotic and 322 dizygotic twin pairs from the Midlife Development in the U.S. (MIDUS) study, aged 25–74. Individual differences in views on aging were mainly due to individual-specific environmental and genetic effects. However, depending on the domain, genetic and environmental contributions to the variance differed. Furthermore, for some domains, variability was larger for older participants; this was attributable to increases in environmental components. This study extends research on genetic and environmental sources of psychosocial variables and stimulates future studies investigating the etiology of views on aging across the life span.

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