Northumbria University

Northumbria University has a track record of collaborating with international research, education and business partners and has a solid international reputation for creating successful, multidisciplinary research projects that make a significant impact nationally and internationally.

Serena Salvi

Early Stage Researcher

Project: ESR8

Research undertaken by ESR-8 focuses on investigating how behavioural nudges, when applied to health research, can improve mental and physical well-being among adults aged 60 and over.

More in detail, ESR-8’s research investigated how attitudes towards ageing among older adults can influence subjective sleep quality and overall attitudes towards sleep in later life.

The objectives of this research were addressed through the design of two separate empirical studies. In the first study, a potential association between attitudes towards ageing in adults aged 60 and, respectively, dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes towards ageing and sense of control towards poor sleep were investigated.

In the second study, a behavioural intervention implementing behavioural nudges assessed the impact of framing standardised sleep and energy vignettes using widespread age stereotypes on participants’ assessment of the sleep scenarios presented. This latter study employed the representativeness heuristic to assess how participants perceive the severity of the sleep scenarios following the presentation of negative versus positive age stereotypes.

This research aims to contribute to the current debate on the role of self-ageism on older adults’ quality of life. More in detail, the work led by ESR-8 aims to extend current literature on the influence of self-directed age stereotypes on older adults’ well-being to the sleep quality domain.

By performing primary data collection and including variables linked not only to overall sleep quality but also to older adults’ beliefs and attitudes towards their sleep, this research aims to inform public discourse and clinical practice on how ageism can impact older adults’ willingness to seek medical treatment as a response to poor sleep.

In addition, including a behavioural nudge intervention targeting older adults’ sleep quality assessment aims to inform future policies to find cost-effective ways to promote awareness towards sleep chronic disturbances among the ageing population.