Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

JoNell Strough

Committee Member

Constance Toffle

Committee Member

Barry Edelstein


Most research on decision making to date has focused primarily on the individual decision maker and has not looked at social aspects of decision making. A review of decision making in older adults indicated that older adults rate their own decision-making competence as worse than younger adults, even though not all facets of decision making decline with age (Strough, Bruine de Bruin, & Peters, 2015). Because of social roles that contribute to gender differences, women are theorized to be more interpersonally-oriented than men, suggesting that they may prefer to make decisions with others (Eagly, 1983). As population age continues to increase dramatically, it is imperative to understand how decision making may differ across the life span and how key individual difference characteristics may interact to influence these decisions. Participants included members of RAND’s American Life Panel (ALP), a national sample of adults in the US. Older age was associated with increased preference to work alone as well as decreased perceived ability to make decisions as one has gotten older and as compared to same-aged peers. Findings also indicated a significant indirect effect of perceived ability to make decisions as compared to same-aged peers on the association between age and preference to make decisions alone and with others. Although this study does not directly examine decision-making preferences in the context of decisions themselves, the current study adds to the literature by examining social aspects of decision making, which is typically an understudied area of the literature.