Perceived Functional Limitation and Health Promotion during Mid- to Late Life: The Mediating Role of Affect

Sarah T. Stahl, Julie Hicks Patrick


Engagement in health-promoting behaviors plays an important role in successful aging and may delay the onset and progression of disability in later life. The current study examined a model of health promotion using age, perceived functional limitation, and affective beliefs (e.g., positive affect and negative affect) as predictors of health-responsibility behaviors. Participants were 122 adults between the ages of 40 and 88 who completed measures via an online survey. Results indicate that perceived functional limitation both directly and indirectly, through its association with positive affect, influence health-responsibility behaviors. Adults who perceived more severe functional limitations and experienced greater positive affect reported engagement in more health-responsibility behaviors. This finding suggests that positive affect may be an underlying mechanism by which functional limitation influences engagement in health-promoting behaviors. These results may also have important clinical implications for the use of positive affect as an indicator of health functioning among middle-aged and older adults with chronic illness.

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