Which Factors do Older Adults Consider When Estimating the Time Left for Them to Live?

Yuval Palgi, Amit Shrira, Gitit Kavé, Tom Rubinstein, Dov Shmotkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives The present study examines which factors older adults consider as important when rating their subjective nearness-to-death (SNtD), as well as the associations between corresponding variables as reported in a multidimensional questionnaire and responses on a SNtD question. In addition, we examine whether importance ratings fit or diverge from the actual associations between corresponding variables and SNtD. Method Two hundred and seventy-two participants (average age 80.75) reported their health and functioning, their SNtD, and the importance of each of 13 preselected factors in evaluating SNtD. Results Respondents considered physical functioning and psychological factors as the most important factors to their SNtD evaluation, and genetic factors (i.e., age, gender, parental longevity) as the least important. Ratings of importance were strongly and positively correlated with the strength of the associations between the corresponding variables and SNtD. Discussion Older adults appear to have implicit knowledge of the factors that affect their SNtD. Yet, this knowledge is sometimes biased and does not necessarily represent variables that have been identified as related to actual longevity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-73
Number of pages5
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author(s).


  • End-of-life evaluations
  • Perceptions of aging
  • Subjective nearness-to-death


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