June 14, 2024

Subjective age: We always feel younger for longer

According to our own perception, we are aging more and more slowly

And with each generation, the effect is stronger. Therefore, people subjectively age more slowly today than they did 10, 20 or 30 years ago. On average, a 60-year-old today feels 2% younger than a 60-year-old ten years ago. This means that the “younger” generations, born between 1952 and 1974, feel 13 percent younger than they do at age 40 and up to 17 percent younger at age 65.

However, not everyone feels the same about staying young. On average, it is stronger in women than in men and stronger in West Germany than in East Germany. It is also less pronounced in lonely and chronically ill people.

Subjective age is considered a ‘bio-psychosocial marker’: the younger you feel, the better your physical and mental fitness and well-being. But some health risks also increase, such as contracting Covid-19, the research group reported. Feeling young also shows the perceived distance (“detachment”) from one’s own age group, which is certainly perceived as outdated. An increasingly younger subjective age could thus reflect the tendency toward negative age stereotypes.

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