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ERIC Number: EJ1118180
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Nov
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Health Sensitivity: Age Differences in the Within-Person Coupling of Individuals' Physical Health and Well-Being
Schöllgen, Ina; Morack, Jennifer; Infurna, Frank J.; Ram, Nilam; Gerstorf, Denis
Developmental Psychology, v52 n11 p1944-1953 Nov 2016
Well-being and physical health are central indicators of quality of life in old age. Research from a between-person difference perspective finds that people in better health than their peers also report higher well-being than their peers. However, we know very little about whether changes in one domain are accompanied by changes in the other domain, particularly at the within-person level. In the present study, we introduce the construct of health sensitivity, that is, how susceptible an individuals' well-being is to changes in physical health. In doing so, we used 9-wave longitudinal data covering 17 years from the Health and Retirement Study (N = 21,689; 50-109 year olds; 55% women) and applied multilevel modeling to examine the covariation of central indicators of well-being (depressive affect) and health (functional limitations) simultaneously at both the between-person and within-person level. At the within-person level, we found evidence of health sensitivity--on occasions when a typical person experienced more functional limitations than usual, he or she also reported more depressive affect--and that health sensitivity decreased with age. Survival analysis revealed that health sensitivity was related to mortality hazards, controlling for mean levels of health and well-being. We discuss the theoretical importance of examining within-person associations between health and well-being and consider practical implications.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale
Grant or Contract Numbers: RC1AG035645; R01HD076994; R24HD041025; ULTR000127