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Why Do People Fear of Aging? A Theoretical Framework

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Fear of aging can be experienced by people of all age groups and negatively affects health and well-being. Fear of aging has been defined as irrational and persistent fear of getting older. It negatively affects health of younger and older adults. This paper aimed to propose a theoretical framework that explains causes of fear of aging. The authors reviewed and critiqued existing theories related to fear of aging. Then a new theoretical framework was developed using a deductive approach. Based on the gerontological literature, it was found that fear of aging is a multifactorial phenomenon and rooted from several psychosocial theories such as social identity theory, terror management theory, social clock theory, double standard of aging theory, and stereotype embodiment theory. The results of this review study provide a theoretical framework for understanding the causes of fear of aging. This theoretical framework may help gerontological researchers to identify risk factors accounting for fear of aging. The proposed framework can explain the fear of aging and provide some strategies for reducing the fear of aging. In sum, the fear of aging can continue to increase until societies reduce the boundaries between the young and the old and consider aging as a normal process.

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This study was supported by grant no. 1532 in University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

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Correspondence to Y. A. Momtaz.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. This article does not contain any studies involving animals or human participants performed by any of the authors.

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Momtaz, Y.A., Mahmoudi, N. & Zanjari, N. Why Do People Fear of Aging? A Theoretical Framework. Adv Gerontol 11, 121–125 (2021).

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