Making decisions about future activities : the role of age and health

A.S. Melenhorst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Do older people experience the postponement of a desired or planned activity as more troublesome than do younger people, or, on the contrary, do they exhibit more patience? In the present study 24 independently living adults, 12 aged 40 - 45 years and 12 aged 70 - 75 years, judged delayed rewards, in this case freely obtainable holidays, by means of pair–wise comparison. The participants' preferences showed a stronger 'temporal discounting' in older and in less healthy individuals than in younger and in healthy individuals, respectively. Delay-time was perceived as a risk factor for enjoying future holidays. This risk perception was related to participants' own and their partners' subjective physical health. However, subjective health could not fully explain the high temporal discount rates in the older participants, suggesting that also age by itself contributed to the perceived risk of postponement. The implications of this study may also address other activities and plans, such as older adults' preparedness to learn using new technology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-162
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002


Dive into the research topics of 'Making decisions about future activities : the role of age and health'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this