Older adults who see themselves as old and frail will start to feel old and frail.
This is the conclusion of a study conducted by Krystal Warmoth and colleagues at University of Exeter Medical School, which is presented today, Thursday 11 April 2013, at the British Psychological Society (BPS) Annual Conference in Harrogate.
Krystal Warmoth interviewed 29 older adults face-to-face in the South West of England about their experiences of ageing and frailty. Krystal explained: "A person's beliefs about their self could lead to a loss of interest in participating in social and physical activities, poor health, stigmatisation, and reduced quality of life."
One respondent stated it clearly, "If people think that they are old and frail, they will act like they're old and frail."
Participants described a cycle of decline where perceiving themselves as frail led to stopping activities that would keep them fit and healthy, such as physical exercise.
Krystal concluded that: "This study gives insight into the role of social psychological factors in older adults' health and activity."
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