Examining Relations between Aging, Life Story Chapters, and Well-Being

Dorthe Kirkegaard Thomsen*, Majse Lind, David Pillemer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Socio-emotional selectivity theory holds that older age is associated with a sense of limited remaining time. We suggest that life story chapters may be involved in this experience. In this first study on the connection between socio-emotional selectivity theory and chapters, we examined whether older age is associated with fewer, temporally less distant, and less positive future chapters. We also examined relations between chapters and subjective well-being. Two samples (18–84 years) described past and future chapters and completed well-being measures. Older age was associated with fewer, less temporally extended, and less positive future chapters. Less positive past chapters was most consistently related to lower subjective well-being, but less positive future chapters also predicted lower subjective well-being in some analyses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number31
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)207-215
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Thanks to Søren Madsen, Marie Lundorff Kristensen, Anne Mai Pedersen, and Nina Coulthard Smith for their help with recruiting participants, entering data, and coding the content of chapters. The study was supported by a grant from the Velux Foundation to the first and the last author (VELUX33266). The first and the second author are affiliated with Con Amore, which is funded by the Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF89).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


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