Future perspective and healthy lifestyle choices in adulthood
Carla Strickland-Hughes: 0000-0001-8446-8708
Psychology and Aging
Regardless of age, making healthy lifestyle choices is prudent. Despite that, individuals of all ages sometimes have difficulty choosing the healthy option. We argue that individuals’ view of the future and position in the life span affects their current lifestyle choices. We capture the multidimensionality of future thinking by assessing 3 types of future perspective. Younger and older men and women (N = 127) reported global future time perspective, future health perspective, and perceived importance of future health-related events. They also rated their likelihood of making healthy lifestyle choices. As predicted, older participants indicated greater intention to make healthy choices in their current life than did younger participants. Compared to younger participants, older participants reported shorter global future time perspective and anticipated worse future health but perceived future health-related events as more important. Having a positive view of one’s future health and seeing future health-related events as important were related to greater intention to make healthy lifestyle choices, but greater global future time perspective was not directly related to healthy choices. However, follow-up analyses suggested that greater global future time perspective indirectly affected healthy choices via a more positive view of future health. None of these relations were moderated by age. Individuals’ perspective on the future is shown to be an important multidimensional construct affecting everyday healthy lifestyle choices for both younger and older adults. Implications for encouraging healthy choices across the adult life span are discussed.
Strickland-Hughes, C. M.,
Ebner, N. C.,
Ebner, N. C.
Future perspective and healthy lifestyle choices in adulthood.
Psychology and Aging, 31(6), 618–630.