Relationships among Self-perception of Aging, Physical Functioning, and Self-efficacy in Late Life

Hava Tovel, Sara Carmel, Victoria H. Raveis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives The purpose of the current study was to examine the longitudinal relationship between 2 central concepts in the study of subjective well-being in old age - self-perception of aging (SPA) and physical functioning, and to assess the mediating role of self-efficacy beliefs in this relationship. Methods Interviews were conducted in the home with 1,216 randomly selected persons aged 75+ years (T1) and repeated with 892 of them 2 years later (T2). We collected data on SPA, physical functioning, self-efficacy, self-rated health, and demographics. Using SEM techniques, we examined cross-lagged autoregressive relationships between SPA and physical functioning and between SPA and self-efficacy, and the mediating effect of self-efficacy. Results Findings indicated that it was SPA that affected physical functioning and self-efficacy and not vice versa, while controlling for age, gender, education, economic status and self-rated health. Evaluation of a mediation model showed that self-efficacy fully mediated the longitudinal relationship between SPA-T1 and physical functioning -T2. Discussion Our results indicated a psychological pathway by which SPA affected physical functioning through self-efficacy. SPA also affected self-efficacy, which in turn probably motivated people to use effective coping patterns for maintaining their physical functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-221
Number of pages10
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 10 2019


  • Old age
  • Physical functioning
  • Self-efficacy
  • Self-perception of aging
  • Subjective well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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