Subjective Age and Older Consumers
Chronological age (i.e., the number of years one has lived) has often been considered the most critical aspect of understanding the human aging process. However, a substantial body of research has shown that aging is a multidimensional process that involves biological, social, and psychological aspects. By focusing on the psychological dimension of aging, this chapter presents an extensive literature review of subjective age (often referred to as feel-age), which describes how old an individual perceives oneself to be. After presenting the main definitional and measurement issues related to this construct, the chapter discusses the potential discrepancy between subjective age and chronological age with respect to older people, who typically feel younger than their chronological age. Importantly, the chapter elucidates how this discrepancy is malleable, as it varies in magnitude across cultural contexts, age groups, individuals, and situations, and considers the main consequences of this phenomenon for older consumers.