Women during mid-life tend to worry about the
wrinkles and other tell-tale signs of aging that are brushed under the broad
carpet of mid-life crisis. However, a new study has shown that women past a
certain age have better emotional well-being than their younger counterparts.
‘Don’t regret getting older, It is a privilege denied to many’
The concerns that plague women at different
stages in their life contribute to their wellness.
In younger women, their concerns are focused on
- Declining health
- Reduction in attractiveness
Older women who look after themselves and who
maintain their youthful identities improve their well-being. The study titled
"Explaining age differences in women's emotional well-being: The role of
subjective experiences of aging" explores the reasons why some women may feel
insecure but that insecurity may be quashed as they grow older.
There is a lot of attention and importance that
is given to women who are young, however the world is a lot harsher for women who are older.
There is a conscious
marginalization of older women, that can lead to frayed confidence and which can affect women even before
they reach old age.
Anne Barrett who is the sociology professor and
director of FSU's Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy said "Our
society's marginalization of older women can have consequences for women across
adulthood. It can erode their emotional well-being long before they reach old
Accept Their Body Weight More Now Than Ever Before
Though the number of obese people is on the rise
across the world, women, in general, are found to be more accepting of their weight gain than ever before. Dissatisfaction with body weight can lead to eating disorders
like anorexia, bulimia or even lead to severe mental health illness like
A study conducted by Brian Karaszia evaluated
over 250 studies that examined women's dissatisfaction with their body weight.
The studies found that women were more dissatisfied with their body weight than
men were, but the degree of dissatisfaction is far lower now than ever before.
This study stresses the growing trend of women feeling a lot more confident
about how they look.
In a study conducted by researchers from the
Trinity College in January 2013, it was found that women, who often talked
about being too fat or too old, had a negative body image. This negative body
image can affect their mental as well as physical health.
Younger women spoke more about being fat and less
about getting old, while older women tended to have more conversations about
growing old. All these were considered as triggers that lead to body
Signs of Aging
In the current context of greater onus on beauty,
triggered by selfies and Instagram posts, the well-being of women needs to be
closely monitored. University of South Florida's researchers Barret and Erica
Toothman studied 5 aspects that they felt were good indicators about how women
felt about aging
- The time associated with middle age
associated with aging
- Anxieties associated with aging
- Physiological changes
The results showed that younger women were more
anxious about aging which affected their well-being, whereas older women who maintained youthful
identities were far less anxious. "It points to the relevance of ageism to all
of us — across our lives," Barrett said. "It also highlights the need for
visibility and positive representations of older women across all domains of
life in the media, in politics and other arenas." In the study, young women
and older women were asked to fill in extensive questionnaires that helped
identify their apprehensions about aging.
Younger women were very anxious but older women
were a lot more confident. The differences were largely due to society's
perception of women and the greater pressure on women to look younger and to
cover up tell-tale signs of aging.
When older women were asked how young they feel,
they indicated a number that was at least 5 years younger than their actual
age. Barrett added "We focus on women because their decline in status as they
age is steeper than men's. For example, they face more age discrimination in
the workplace and feel more pressure to mask signs of aging. This double
standard of aging pointed us to a novel explanation for older women's better
emotional well-being, compared with younger women."
This study highlights the importance of believing
that age is just a number and preventing negative emotions associated with
declining physical appearance from affecting the quality of life lead.
Explaining age differences in women's emotional well-being: The role of subjective experiences of aging - (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08952841.2015.1017426)