Barrington Health: Negative thoughts toward aging can affect your health, cognition

Senior woman blowing out candles on cake

We all grow old, but our mood can affect our quality of life in our senior years, according to a recent study. Research from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Aging at Trinity College in Dublin revealed that older adults with negative thoughts toward aging have slower walking speed and decreased cognitive abilities, compared to older adults with an optimistic viewpoint.

“The way we think about, talk about, and write about aging may have direct affects on health. If negative attitudes towards aging are carried throughout life they can have a detrimental, measurable effect on mental, physical, and cognitive health,” says lead researcher Dr. Deirdre Robertson.

Researchers asked 4,135 men and women to complete a questionnaire called the Brief Aging Perceptions Questionnaire, and to undergo a cognitive test, along with being rated for levels of physical frailty.

The study found that negative thoughts of aging seemed to affect senior’s health conditions. Frail older adults with negative thoughts had worse cognition compared to the people who were not frail. Although, frail people with positive thoughts of aging had the same level of cognitive ability as the non-frail people.

“This is the latest of many studies published over the years that shows it is the expectation, not biology that leads many elderly people to set physical limitation on themselves,” says Dr. Chandragupta Vedak, a psychiatrist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill.

* Authored by the marketing team at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, our Barrington Health series is focused on advice from area physicians, the latest medical news and trends toward better health in and around Barrington, Illinois. Article originally published here at

Located at 450 W. Highway 22 in Barrington, Illinois, Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital is an acute care facility with more than 700 physicians representing 50 medical specialties. With a nationally-recognized cancer program, renowned cardiac care and an extensive range of outpatient services, Good Shepherd Hospital is part of Advocate Health Care, named one of the Top Ten hospital systems in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters. For more about Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, visit

Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital at 450 W. Highway 22 in Barrington

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