Desired Lifetime and End-of-Life Desires Across Adulthood From 20 to 90: A Dual-Source Information Model

Lang, Frieder R.; Baltes, Paul B.; Wagner, Gert G.
September 2007
Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences & Socia;Sep2007, Vol. 62 Issue 5, pP268
Academic Journal
How long do people want to live, and how does scientific research on aging affect such desires? A dual-source information model proposes that aging expectations and desires are informed differently by two sources: personal experiences on the one hand, and scientific and societal influences on the other. Two studies with independent German national samples explored desires regarding length of life and end of life among adults between the ages of 20 and 90. Findings are: First, desired lifetime is consistent at around 85 years with few age differences. Second, experimental induction of good or bad news from research on aging has little effect in Study 1. Third, interest in science has moderating effects on desired lifetime in Study 2. Fourth, there is a high prevalence of a strong desire to control the "when and how" of one's death, although only 11% of the individuals completed a living will. Findings are consistent with the dual-source information model.


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