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Higher levels of well-being are associated with longer life expectancies and better physical health. Previous studies suggest that processes involving the self and autobiographical memory are related to well-being, yet these relationships are poorly understood. The present study tested 32 older and 32 younger adults using scales measuring well-being and the affective valence of two types of autobiographical memory: episodic autobiographical memories and semantic self-images. Results showed that valence of semantic self-images, but not episodic autobiographical memories, was highly correlated with well-being, particularly in older adults. In contrast, well-being in older adults was unrelated to performance across a range of standardised memory tasks. These results highlight the role of semantic self-images in well-being, and have implications for the development of therapeutic interventions for well-being in aging.

Original publication




Journal article


Conscious Cogn

Publication Date





422 - 431


Episodic, Identity, Older adults, Self, Semantic, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aging, Female, Humans, Male, Memory, Episodic, Personal Satisfaction, Self Concept, Semantics, Young Adult