Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

Research Project
“Shifting Values: Age and the Paradox of Well-being”
Financed by:
Fordham University Office of Research

Primary Investigators:
Dr. Karen L. Siedlecki (Fordham University)
Dr. Karen L. Siedlecki
Dr. Karen L. Siedlecki
Principal Investigator


Increased age is associated with physical and cognitive declines, increased loss of loved ones, and a potential loss of financial independence yet despite these age-associated changes, there is little to no effect of age on ratings of subjective well-being. In fact, there is evidence that ratings of life satisfaction may increase with age (e.g., Siedlecki, Tucker-Drob, Oishi, & Salthouse, 2008). This intuitively contradictory relationship has been labeled the “paradox of well-being”. To explain the difference in predictors of life satisfaction as well as SWB in general, Oishi and colleagues (Oishi, Diener, Suh, & Lucas, 1999) have proposed a value-as-a-moderator model in which individual, cultural, and situational variation in predictors of SWB can be predicted by salient values. To date, few studies have systematically examined whether there is a change in values with increased age (but see Ryff, 1989).


The purpose of this project is to design a questionnaire that systematically assesses the values individuals place on relevant constructs (e.g., fluid ability, crystallized ability, memory, processing speed, wisdom, stable mood, affect, career success, social relationships, etc.) and examine whether those values differ across age.


Three hundred participants across the adult lifespan will complete a survey designed to assess subjective values placed on a variety of cognitive and non-cognitive constructs.


The project is currently in its first phase. We are currently preparing measures.

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