What will I be like at eighty? How human values contribute to expected real and ideal self-images in old age in a Germanic/Austrian cultural context


According to Grawe’s Consistency Theory, congruence between an individual’s aims and reality is fundamental for psychological health. We examined the real and ideal self-images of N = 440 participants in a Germanic/Austrian cultural context as perceived in presence and as anticipated for an age of 80 years and examined their relationship to value orientations as a coping resource. From adjective ratings on the Semantic Differential for the real self-image at presence, two dimensions were extracted, one representing Warmth (W) and one representing Competence (C) in the sense of the Stereotype Content Model. Cluster analysis yielded one type of respondents with a cautiously optimistic, and one with a moderately pessimistic view of the present and the future. A third cluster devalued W and C in favor of Religiosity and Conservatism and had the highest degree of congruence between real and ideal self-images. Thus, hypotheses with regard to Religiosity and Conservatism as coping resources were confirmed.

Share and Cite:

Renner, W. , Jenull, B. and Strasser, I. (2014) What will I be like at eighty? How human values contribute to expected real and ideal self-images in old age in a Germanic/Austrian cultural context. Advances in Aging Research, 3, 35-42. doi: 10.4236/aar.2014.31007.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Grawe, F. (1998) Psychologische therapie (Psychological therapy). Hogrefe, Gottingen.
[2] Grosse Holtforth, M. and Grawe, F. (2003) Der inkongruenzfragebogen (INK). Ein messinstrument zur analyse motivationaler inkongruenz (The incongruence questionnaire (INK). An instrument for the analysis of motivational incongruence). Zeitschrift für Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie, 32, 315-323.
[3] Fries, A. and Grawe, K. (2006) Inkonsistenz und psychische Gesundheit: Eine Metaanalyse (Inconsistency and mental health: A meta-analysis). Zeitschrift für Psychiatrie, Psychologie und Psychotherapie, 54, 133-148.
[4] Grom, B. (2011). Wie gesund macht der Glaube? (What does faith contribute to health?). Stimmen der Zeit, 229, 101-112.
[5] Aydin, N., Fischer, P. and Frey, D. (2010) Turning to god in the face of ostracism: Effects of social exclusion on religiousness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 742-753.
[6] Hogg, M.A., Adelman, J.R. and Blagg, R.D. (2010) Religion in the face of uncertainty: An uncertainty-identity theory account of religiousness. Personality & Social Psychology Review, 14, 72-83.
[7] Ysseldyk, R., Matheson, K. and Anisman H. (2010) Religiosity as identity: Toward an understanding of religion from a social identity perspective. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 14, 60-71.
[8] Pyszczynski, T., Abdollahi, A., Solomon, S., Greenberg, J., Cohen, F. and Weise, D. (2006) Mortality salience, martyrdom, and military might: The great Satan versus the axis of evil. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32, 525-537.
[9] Salzman, M.B. (2008) Globalization, religious fundamentalism and the need for meaning. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 32, 318-327.
[10] Renner, W. (2003). Human values: A lexical perspective. Personality and Individual Differences, 34, 127-141.
[11] Greenberg, J., Solomon, S. and Pyszczynski, T. (1997) Terror management theory of self-esteem and cultural worldviews: Empirical assessments and conceptual refinements. In: Zanna, M.P., Ed., Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Academic Press, San Diego, 61139.
[12] Pyszczynski, T., Solomon, S. and Greenberg, J. (2003) In the wake of 9/11: The psychology of terror. American Psychological Association, New York.
[13] Van den Bos, K. (2009) Making sense of life: The existential self trying to deal with personal uncertainty. Psychological Inquiry, 20, 197-217.
[14] Nelson, J.M. (2009) Psychology, religion, and spirituality. Springer Science and Business Media, New York.
[15] Renner, W. (2003) A German value questionnaire developed on a lexical basis: Construction and steps toward a validation. Review of Psychology, 10, 107-123.
[16] Osgood, C.E., Suci, G.J. and Tannenbaum, P.H. (1957) The measurement of meaning. University of Illinois Press, Urbana.
[17] Heise, D.R. (1979) Understanding events: Affect and the construction of social action. Cambridge University Press, New York.
[18] Rogers, K.B., Schr?der, T. and Scholl, W. (2013) The affective structure of stereotype content: Behavior and emotion in intergroup context. Social Psychology Quarterly, XX, 1-26.
[19] Cuddy, A.J.C., Fiske, S.T., Kwan, V.S.Y., Glick, P., Demoulin, S., et al. (2009) Stereotype content model across cultures: Toward universal similarities and some differences. British Journal of Social Psychology, 48, 1-33.
[20] Fiske, S.T., Cuddy, A.J.C., Glick, P. and Xu, J. (2002) A model of (often mixed) stereotype content: Competence and warmth respectively follow from perceived status and competition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 878-902.
[21] Fiske, S.T., Cuddy, A.J.C. and Glick, P. (2007) Universal dimensions of social cognition: Warmth and competence. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 11, 77-83.
[22] Fiske, S.T., Xu, J., Cuddy, A. and Glick, P. (1999) (Dis)respecting versus (dis)liking: Status and interdependence predict ambivalent stereotypes of competence and warmth. Journal of Social Issues, 55, 473-491.
[23] Bortz, J. and D?ring, N. (2005). Forschungsmethoden und evaluation (Research methods and evaluation). 3rd Editiooon, Springer, Berlin.
[24] Slove, S.L. (2001) Notes on cluster analysis. University of Illinois at Chicago.
[25] Schneider, T.R., Rench, T.A., Lyons, J.B. and Riffle, R.R. (2012) The influence of neuroticism, extraversion and openness on stress responses. Stress and Health: Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress, 28, 102-110. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0022-4537.00128
[26] Hackney, C.H. and Sanders, G.S. (2003) Religiosity and mental health: A meta-analysis of recent studies. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 42, 43-55.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.