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In the present study we examined the associations between beliefs of mastery and 2 important kinds of productive activities in the third age: participation in education, and volunteering. Within the broad concept of mastery beliefs, differential aspects of self-regulatory cognitions were studied, that is, self-esteem, control beliefs, effort to complete behavior, persistence in the face of adversity, and willingness to initiate behavior. Effects of these aspects on carrying out activities were investigated and controlled for the impact of some situational and demographic factors. Findings suggest that a general sense of mastery, as reflected in self-esteem and control beliefs, is not a precondition for study and volunteering work in the third age. However, special components of self-efficacy turned out to play a part. Willingness to initiate behavior emerged as a strong predictor for taking on educational activities, as was persistence in the face of adversity for being active as a volunteer. In the discussion possibilities were looked at fpr how better to match productive activities in later life to personal dispositions.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2003

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