New perspectives on motivating better decisions in older adults

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Strough, J ; Bruine de Bruin, W ; Peters, E (2015)
  • Publisher: Frontiers

Decision-making competence in later adulthood is affected by declines in cognitive skills, and age-related changes in affect and experience can sometimes compensate. However, recent findings suggest that age-related changes in motivation also affect the extent to which adults draw from experience, affect, and deliberative skills when making decisions. To date, relatively little attention has been given to strategies for addressing age-related changes in motivation to promote better decisions in older adults. To address this limitation, we draw from diverse literatures to suggest promising intervention strategies for motivating older recipients’ motivation to make better decisions. We start by reviewing the life-span developmental literature, which suggests that older adults’ motivation to put effort into decisions depends on the perceived personal relevance of decisions as well as their self-efficacy (i.e., confidence in applying their ability and knowledge). Next, we discuss two approaches from the health intervention design literature, the mental models approach and the patient activation approach, which aim to improve motivation for decision making by improving personal relevance or by building self-efficacy or confidence to use new information and skills. Using examples from these literatures, we discuss how to construct interventions to motivate good decisions in later adulthood.
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