What makes you feeling old?

Valeria Bordone, University of Southampton
Bruno Arpino, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Alessandro Rosina, Università Cattolica, Milan

Guided by the acknowledged importance of subjective measures of aging alternative to chronological age, we explored gender and educational differences in who feels old and in the reasons to feel old among a representative sample of people aged 65-74 in Italy interviewed in 2013 within the project ““Non mi ritiro”: l'allungamento della vita, una sfida per le generazioni, un’opportunità per la società”. We first carry out a descriptive analysis of gender differences in feeling old and then explore through several logistic regressions the reasons that make men and women feeling old the most, by educational attainment. The results show that women are more likely to feel old than men and the first are also more likely to think that the society considers them to be old. While men feel old mainly when they retire, women mainly associate the feeling of being old to loosing physical autonomy, widowhood, and absence of projects. However, both men and women report having felt old when turning 65. Interestingly, having grandchildren reduced the likelihood to report boredom as a reason to feel old among both men and women. Within sub-populations by educational attainment, we find that high educated are less likely to associate ageing with loneliness and boredom, but more likely to link “feeling old” with absence of projects as compared to their lower educated counterparts.

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Presented in Session 41: Mental well-being of older adults