Cross-Cultural Differences in Adjustment to Aging: A Comparison Between Mexico and Portugal

Neyda Ma. Mendoza-Ruvalcaba, Sofia von Humboldt, Elva Dolores Arias-Merino, Isabel Leal


Objective: To compare Adjustment to Aging (AtA) and Satisfaction with Life in a Mexican and a Portuguese older sample. Method: A total of 723 (n = 340 Mexican and n = 383 Portuguese) older adults were included and assessed with the AtA Scale (ATAS) and the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWL). Informed consent was obtained from all participants. Portuguese participants were significantly older than Mexicans (mean age 85.19 and 71.36 years old, respectively) and showed higher education level (p < .001). No significant differences on gender and marital status were found. Results: Mexicans considered all aspects of AtA absolutely more important than their Portuguese counterparts (p < .001). For Mexicans, being cherished by their family (82.1%), being healthy, without pain or disease (75.9%), having spiritual religious and existential values (75%) and having fun and laughter (75%) were the most important for AtA, compared to having curiosity and an interest in learning (22.5%), creating and being creative (20.1%) and leaving a mark and seed for the future (18.0%) for Portuguese participants. Mexicans also reported a higher SWL than Portuguese participants. Mean scores were 6.10 (SD = 0.76) and 3.66 (SD = 1.47) respectively (p < .001). AtA and SWL were correlated in the Mexican sample (p = .001), but not in the Portuguese (p = .100). Discussion: Differences on AtA between Mexican and Portuguese older adults should be explained considering their cultural and social context, and their socio-demographic characteristics. The enhancement of AtA, and its relevance to improve well-being and longevity can become a significant resource or health care interventions.


adjustment to aging; cross-cultural; Mexican; Portuguese