1. Introduction In our aging society, older adult learning is increasingly valued. Learning allows older adults to adapt to changes brought about by aging, to enhance self-confidence, and to face new challenges. Research has shown that social contact motivation in learning is associated with active aging and improved health and security. However, the mechanism through which the social contact motivation of older adults influences active aging requires further research. Past studies stress the importance of older adults understanding their attitudes toward the aging process. Older adults who report a more positive attitude toward aging exhibit increased participation in health promotion behaviors, which in turn allows older adults to truly practice the concept of active aging. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the mediating effect of attitude toward aging among older adults on social contact motivation in learning and on active aging. 2. Methods Older adults (older than 55 years) in northern Taiwan were recruited. A total of 101 valid questionnaires were collected from the pretest. The age of the respondents ranged from 55 to 81 years; the mean age was 61.58 years. Furthermore, 17 respondents were male (16.8%) and 84 respondents were female (83.2%). In the study proper, a total of 231 valid questionnaires were collected. The age ranged from 55-83 years; the mean age was 62.87 years. In addition, 63respondents were male (27.3%) and 168 respondents were female (72.7%). Three scales were used: The first measured social contact motivation, which was adapted from the adult learning motivation scale (Kim & Merriam, 2004); the second measured attitude toward aging (Shenkin et al., 2014); and the third measured active aging (Lin, 2012). Social contact motivation refers to contact with friends and making new friends as motivation for learning. The aging attitude scale was developed by Shenkin et al. (2014) in cooperation with the World Health Organization; it measures both positive and negative attitudes toward aging. The active aging scale was developed by Lin (2012). The scale has three dimensions: Health, participation, and security. In the pretest, exploratory factor analysis and internal consistency analysis were conducted, and items in the pretest questionnaire were deleted and revised to develop a formal questionnaire. All scales were demonstrated to be valid in a factor analysis, and an overall Cronbach’s alpha of 0.74-0.86 indicated reliability. Structural equation modeling (SEM) with bootstrapping was used for the analysis. 3. Results Correlation analysis indicated that scores for social contact motivation, active aging, and attitudes toward aging were all significantly correlated. Mediating effects were then investigated through SEM. The model had good fit (χ2 ⁄df = 3.16, p = 0.00, goodness of fit index = 0.89, adjusted goodness of fit index = 0.86, and root mean square error of approximation = 0.07). Therefore, the model was credible and stable. This study calculated the 95% confidence interval and used 2000 repeated samples. The model had “physiological change attitude” and “positive aging attitude” as variables mediating the relationship between social contact motivation and active aging. The SEM results are displayed as follows: 3.1 Direct Effects and Mediating Effects Social contact motivation had a direct relationship with all three dimensions of active aging: Health (r = 0.69, p <.05), participation (r = 0.79, p <.05), and security (r = 0.73, p <.05). Potential mediating effects were then examined. Physiological change attitude fully mediated the relationships of social contact motivation with two of the three dimensions of active aging, specifically health (r = 0.17, p <.05) and participation (r = 0.18, p <.05). Physiological change attitude partially mediated the relationship between social contact motivation and the security dimension of active aging (r = 0.15, p <.05). Positive aging attitude fully mediated the relationship between social contact motivation and the health dimension of active aging (r = 0.18, p <.01) and partially mediated the relationship between social contact motivation and the security dimension of active aging (r = 0.20, p <.01). 4. Conclusions This study examined the effects of social contact motivation and attitudes toward aging on active aging. The results demonstrated that improved social contact motivation and attitudes toward aging enhances active aging in older adults. Specifically, the results of this study suggest that (1) attitude toward physiological changes mediates the relationship between social contact motivation and the health, participation, and security dimensions of active aging and (2) positive aging attitude mediates the relationship between social contact motivation and the health and security dimensions of active aging. Therefore, older adults’ social contact motivation for learning influences their attitudes toward aging, including their attitudes toward physiological change; this in turn, enhances the health, participation, and security dimensions of active aging. 5. Limitations and Recommendations for Future Studies This research has several limitations. This study only recruited older adults in Taipei City. Future studies should recruit individual from different regions and age groups and explore a wider set of other variables, such as personality traits and barriers to participation in learning. They may also adopt a control group in their analyses to enable causal inference.
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