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Everything under Control?: The Effects of Age, Gender, and Education on Trajectories of Perceived Control in a Nationally Representative German Sample

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  • Jule Specht
  • Boris Egloff
  • Stefan C. Schmukle
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    Abstract

    Perceived control is an important variable for various demands involved in successful aging. However, perceived control is not set in stone, but rather changes throughout the life course. The aim of this study was to identify cross-sectional age differences and longitudinal mean-level changes as well as rank-order changes in perceived control with respect to sex and education. Furthermore, changes in income and health were analyzed to explain trajectories of perceived control. In a large and representative sample of Germans across all of adulthood, 9,484 individuals gave information about their perceived control twice over a period of 6 years. Using LOESS curves and latent structural equation modeling, four main findings were revealed: (a) Perceived control increased until ages 30 to 40, then decreased until about age 60, and increased slightly afterwards; (b) The rank order of individuals in perceived control was relatively unstable, especially in young adulthood, and reached a plateau at about age 40; (c) Men perceived that they had more control than women did, but there were no sex differences in the development of perceived control; (d) Individuals with more education perceived that they had more control than those with less education, and there were slight differences in the development of perceived control dependent on education. Taken together, these findings offer important insights into the development of perceived control across the life span.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 445.

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    Length: 43 p.
    Date of creation: 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp445

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    Keywords: perceived control; personality development; longitudinal; representative sample;

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    References

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    1. Frank J. Infurna & Denis Gerstorf & Nilam Ram & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2011. "Long-Term Antecedents and Outcomes of Perceived Control," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 355, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    2. Andreas Klein & Helfried Moosbrugger, 2000. "Maximum likelihood estimation of latent interaction effects with the LMS method," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 65(4), pages 457-474, December.
    3. William Meredith, 1993. "Measurement invariance, factor analysis and factorial invariance," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 58(4), pages 525-543, December.
    4. Albert Satorra & Peter M. Bentler, 1999. "A scaled difference chi-square test statistic for moment structure analysis," Economics Working Papers 412, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    5. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP): Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    6. Jule Specht & Boris Egloff & Stefan C. Schmukle, 2011. "Stability and Change of Personality across the Life Course: The Impact of Age and Major Life Events on Mean-Level and Rank-Order Stability of the Big Five," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 377, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    7. Haan, Peter & Myck, Michal, 2009. "Dynamics of health and labor market risks," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 1116-1125, December.
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