Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Robert Henning, Anne Kenny

Field of Study



Master of Arts

Open Access

Open Access


Past research has consistently found a negative relationship between psychological age and health. Nearly all of that research, however, has been cross-sectional, and the few panel studies that exist include only a single aspect of health and measured with older adults. The present study sought to replicate and expand on a recent 2-wave cross-lagged panel investigation that explored the causal interplay between several dimensions of health and psychological age in middle age and older adults. In the current study employees (N = 409), ranging in age from 22 to 70, from six manufacturing organizations participated in three surveys approximately 1.5 years apart, and two clinical health assessments approximately 3 years apart. Using cross-lagged panel path analysis, negative relationships were found between psychological age and four types of health. Chronological age was found to moderate these relationships, with different predictive patterns discovered for older and younger individuals. Psychological age predicted health for older adults, while for younger adults health predicted psychological age. The pattern of the relationship varied for each aspect of health, and also across age groups. Two theories, stereotype embodiment theory and social comparison theory, may explain the dissimilarities between the age groups in the results. Future research should explore the effect that other moderators, such as gender and employment status, play in the association between health and psychological assessments of age.

Major Advisor

Janet Barnes-Farrell