Document Type

Article

Publication Date

January 1985

Abstract

There is increasing acceptance of the premise that growth and development continue throughout adult life and, as life expectancy has lengthened, there is a much expanded mid-life period. Yet, middle adulthood has been neglected as an area of theoretical and empirical examination. Adults (N=251) in middle adulthood (age 35-55) completed instruments measuring current health status, health locus of control, health value, health habits, self-management effectiveness, stressful life events, social support, genetic predisposition, gender, level of education, and income. The results indicated that internal locus of control was positively related to total self-management, health self-management, and health habits, while chance locus and powerful others locus were negatively related to these behavioral variables. The strongest predictors positively related to health were internal locus of control and health habits. The strongest predictors inversely related to health were powerful others locus, genetic predisposition, and less-than-high school education. Although some factors not readily modifiable for middle-aged adults were found to contribute to health status, modifiable attitudinal and behavioral varibles were also found to be important: even in cases with high genetic predisposition to disease, good health habits appeared to make a significant difference.

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