Time counts: Future time perspective, goals, and social relationships

Frieder R. Lang, Laura L. Carstensen
2002 Psychology and Aging  
On the basis of postulates derived from socioemotional selectivity theory, the authors explored the extent to which future time perspective (FTP) is related to social motivation, and to the composition and perceived quality of personal networks. Four hundred eighty German participants with ages ranging from 20 to 90 years took part in the study. In 2 card-sort tasks, participants indicated their partner preference and goal priority. Participants also completed questionnaires on personal
more » ... and social satisfaction. Older people, as a group, perceived their future time as more limited than younger people. Individuals who perceived future time as being limited prioritized emotionally meaningful goals (e.g., generativity, emotion regulation), whereas individuals who perceived their futures as open-ended prioritized instrumental or knowledge-related goals. Priority of goal domains was found to be differently associated with the size, composition, and perceived quality of personal networks depending on FTP. Prioritizing emotion-regulatory goals was associated with greater social satisfaction and less perceived strain with others when participants perceived their future as limited. Findings underscore the importance of FTP in the self-regulation of social relationships and the subjective experience associated with them.
doi:10.1037/0882-7974.17.1.125 fatcat:udarugfzsjbmpddun65lff3p6a