This study examined the relationships between older women’s comparison styles, physical self-perceptions, and functional fitness. Participants were community-dwelling women (N = 102, age 65-99) living in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Individuals were categorized as relying primarily on social comparisons, temporal comparisons, or a combination of both styles. Also of interest was whether individuals evaluated themselves positively or negatively when making comparisons. Participants who evaluated themselves positively as compared with others were found to have higher levels of physical self-perception. Analyses revealed that women who relied primarily on temporal comparisons had higher self-perceptions of their functional ability than those who relied on a combination of comparison styles. An avoidance of both temporal and social comparisons was also related to higher levels of physical self-perception.
Semerjian is with the School of Kinesiology and Nutritional Science, California State University, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90032. Stephens is with the Dept. of Health and Sport Studies, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242.