The Gerontologist

Generativity and Interaction Between the Old and Young: The Role of Perceived Respect and Perceived Rejection.

PMID 24270213


We examined the relationships among development of generativity, generative acts, and psychological well-being in old age and the possible mediating effects of perceived rejection and respect from younger generations. We hypothesized that generative action would not lead to well-being unless responding elders perceived respect from younger generations, and, further, that perceived respect would predict the development of generativity. In Study 1, we sampled 252 older persons to verify our hypothetical model in a cross-sectional survey. We assessed generative concern, generative action, perceived rejection from younger people, and psychological well-being. In Study 2, the same measures and a new scale to measure perceived respect from younger people were administered in a longitudinal survey. Four hundred older adults responded at 2 time points, 12 months apart. Path analysis showed that the effect of generative action on ill-being was mediated by perceived rejection and respect from younger generations. Perceived respect from younger generations at baseline predicted an increase in generative concern 12 months later. The results suggest that positive intergenerational interaction leads to generativity development and better well-being in old age.