The predicament of time near the end of life: Time perspective trajectories of life satisfaction among the old-old

Yuval Palgi*, Dov Shmotkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The present study investigated time perspective in old-old age as embodied in trajectories of life satisfaction ratings that individuals attribute to their past, present, and anticipated future. We hypothesized that these trajectories represent diverse strategies of coping with old age. Method: The sample was composed of 164 participants (mean age 91.9, SD = 4.3) who survived the third wave of a national longitudinal study in Israel. The findings indicated four groups; three with distinctive trajectories of life satisfaction - equilibrated, descending, and no-future, along with an unreported trajectory group. Results: The equilibrated trajectory group exhibited the highest functioning on central markers of adaptation (indicating depressive symptoms, self-rated health, and physical performance). The descending and the no-future trajectories were found to be moderately effective strategies. The unreported trajectory presented the lowest level of functioning. Conclusions: The findings revealed the adaptive roles of time-related perspective on life in old-old people. This perspective reflects a variety of rudimentary trajectories that constitute a time-based module of well-being along the continuum of one's life story. The study suggests that the diverse trajectories relate to essential domains of functioning. Practitioners and therapists may profit from assessing the time perspective of the old-old and directing it into more adaptive trajectories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-586
Number of pages10
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2010


FundersFunder number
National Institute on AgingR01AG005885


    • life satisfaction
    • life trajectories
    • old-old
    • subjective well-being
    • time perspective


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