The influence of mental efficacy on aging well in greece

Por: A. Lailoglou e Y. Harahousou.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Aging well is a concept that is intended to convey positive images and approaches to ageing [4]. A critical component of ageing well is cognitive functioning, especially the mental efficacy necessary to maintain the normal activities associated with everyday life. The mental competence needed to take care of one’s affairs and one’s self is of keen interest to adults as they age, as well as to the larger society [5]. Changes in cognitive abilities with age in areas such as memory, intelligence, and the mechanics of mental functioning have been well documented in the literature [1]. The objectives of this study were: a) to examine the influence of age, education, location categories, gender categories and physical activity level on the mental efficacy and "aging well" of older adults, and b) to find any association between mental efficacy and "aging well".


The sample comprised 500 persons (270 females - 230 males) from Greece, aged 55-94 years old. The proposed questionnaire administered to the subjects in the form of a structured interview by a trained interviewer.


The One-way ANOVA analysis showed highly significant differences among the six age categories on the self-esteem, perceived control, mental status, resilience, mental efficacy, life satisfaction, life appraisal, and the aging well. Concerning the independent variables "educational status’’ and "location categories’’ the One-way ANOVA analysis showed highly significant differences on the self-esteem, perceived control, mental status, resilience, mental efficacy, life satisfaction, life appraisal, and the "aging well". The Independent samples t-test analysis revealed highly significant differences between active and non-active older adults on the reporting variables. Also, the Independent samples t-test analysis between genders showed highly significant differences on the reporting variables. The correlation analysis revealed that mental efficacy is significantly correlated with aging well (r=.774, p<.01), as well as with life satisfaction (r=.734, p<.01), and life appraisal (r=.726, p<.01). Self-esteem, perceived control, mental status and resilience (mental efficacy variables) explained 69.1% of aging well variance (R2=.691, F4,495=276.44, p<.001).


The findings of this study seem to be in agreement with other studies [1,2,3]. Finally: a) significant differences were found among the age categories, education categories as well as among the location categories on mental efficacy, life satisfaction, life appraisal, and finally in aging well, b) active older adults as well as male older adults have scored higher in mental efficacy, life satisfaction, life appraisal and in "aging well", and c) mental efficacy contributes significantly on the aging well.


[1]. Albert, M. S., Jones, K., Savage, C. R., Berkman, L., Seeman, T., Blazer, D., & Rowe, J. W. (1995). Predictors of cognitive change in older persons: MacArthur studies of successful aging. Psychology and Aging, 10(4): 578-589.
[2]. Alvarado, B.E., Zunzunegui, M.V., Del Ser, T. & Beland, F. (2002). Cognitive decline is related to education and occupation in a Spanish elderly cohort. Aging Clin Exp Res, 14(2): 132-142.
[3]. Blanchard-Fields, F., & Chen, Y. (1996). Adaptive cognition and aging. American Behavioral Scientist, 39(3): 231-248.
[4]. Johnson, T. F. (1995). Aging well in contemporary society: Introduction. American Behavioral Scientist, 39(2): 120-130.
[5]. Willis, S. L. (1996). Everyday cognitive competence in elderly persons: Conceptual issues and empirical findings. The Gerontologist, 36(5): 595-601.

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