Do Negative Views of Aging Influence Memory and Auditory Performance Through Self-Perceived Abilities?

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Memory and hearing are critical domains that interact during older adults' daily communication and social encounters. To develop a more comprehensive picture of how aging influences performance in these domains, the roles of social variables such as views of aging and self-perceived abilities need greater examination. The present study investigates the linkages between views of aging, self-perceived abilities, and performance within and across the domains of memory and hearing, connections that have never been examined together within the same sample of older adults. For both domains, 301 older adults completed measures of their views of aging, their self-perceived abilities and behavioral tests. Using structural equation modeling, we tested a hypothesized model in which older adults' negative views of aging predicted their performance in the domains of memory and hearing through negatively affecting their self-perceived abilities in those domains. Although this model achieved adequate fit, an alternative model in which hearing performance predicted self-perceived hearing also was supported. Both models indicate that hearing influences memory with respect to both behavioral and self-perception measures and that negative views of aging influence self-perceptions in both domains. These results highlight the importance of views of aging and self-perceptions of abilities within and across these domains.