Negotiating Health and Social Goals Over the Lifespan: the Mediating Role of Future-time Perception
K.-K. Li1, C.H.-Y. Lee1
1City University of Hong Kong, China
Background: With the age-related changes in future-time perception (FTP), individuals may differentially prioritize health and social goals. This study examined whether FTP mediated the age effects on goal prioritization and intentions to be physically and socially active. Methods: Older and younger adults (n=262) elicited 3 health and 3 social goals, ranked the goals on importance, and reported their FTP and intentions to exercise and engage in social activities. A goal priority index and the 2 intentions were regressed on age groups in 3 models. The mediating effects of FTP were also tested. Findings: Older adults more often prioritized health over social goals, and had stronger exercise and social engagement intentions than younger adults. FTP did not predict prioritization but mediated the age effects on intentions. Discussion: The age-related preference toward health goals might be attributed to the concerns over the age-related physical decline. FTP did not predict prioritization, as health goals might become emotionally meaningful with age. The suppression effects of FTP on age suggested the importance of an extended FTP in physical and social engagement.