Aging-related fears and their associations with ideal life expectancy

Rupprecht F, Martin K, Lang F (2021)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2021


DOI: 10.1007/s10433-021-00661-3


Fears regarding various aspects tend to stimulate individuals to escape or to avoid the sources of the threat. We concluded that fears associated with the future aging process, like the fear of aging-related diseases, the fear of loneliness in old age, and the fear of death, would stimulate patterns of avoidance when it comes to ideal life expectancy. We expected fear of aging-related diseases and fear of loneliness in old age to be related to lower ideal life expectancies. We expected fear of death to be related to higher ideal life expectancies. In two adult lifespan samples [N1 = 1065 and N2 = 591; ages ranging from 18 to 95 years, M (SD)1 = 58.1 (17.2) years, M (SD)2 = 52.6 (18.1) years], we were able to support our hypothesis regarding fear of death. We furthermore found significant interactions among the fears, indicating that individuals fearing diseases or loneliness but being unafraid of death opted for the shortest lives. Our results indicate that fears regarding life in very old age might be associated with the wish to avoid this age period; the fear of death was however associated with the wish for particularly long lives, and thus, with distancing oneself from the dreaded event of death. We conclude that fears seem to be associated with how individuals approach old age and with what they wish for in their own future as aged people.

Authors with CRIS profile

How to cite


Rupprecht, F., Martin, K., & Lang, F. (2021). Aging-related fears and their associations with ideal life expectancy. European Journal of Ageing.


Rupprecht, Fiona, Kristina Martin, and Frieder Lang. "Aging-related fears and their associations with ideal life expectancy." European Journal of Ageing (2021).

BibTeX: Download