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Awareness of age-related change, chronological age, subjective age and proactivity: an empirical study in China

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-10-04, 09:15 authored by Stephen Wood, Wanli Zhang

An aging workforce and the increasing value placed on employees' proactivity are two important features of current workplaces. We address the extent to which this proactivity is affected by age and aging. The study has two objectives. First, it aims to validate the concept of awareness of age-related change (AARC) in the Chinese context. Second, it compares the explanatory power of AARC with that of chronological age and subjective age in predicting three types of proactivity: task proactivity, development proactivity and organization proactivity. We used the ten-item AARC instrument in a survey of teachers (n = 421, mean age = 41.0) in China, and validated its content by comparing the responses of a subsample of these teachers (n = 33, mean age = 42.5) to questions asked in a semi-structured interview. This confirmed the validity of the instrument's content, and its applicability beyond North America and Europe, in a Chinese context. We then show that awareness of positive and negative age-related changes (AARC-Gains and AARC-Losses) are, respectively, positively and negatively associated with the three types of proactivity, and that they are better predictors than chronological age and subjective age. The research adds weight to challenges to negative age stereotyping—-that older employees are set in their ways and less proactive—-and to claims about the value of AARC for measuring aging, by showing that this factor can predict outcomes beyond health and the concerns of older adults.


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School of Business, University of Leicester


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Frontiers in Psychiatry


Frontiers Media



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