Successful Aging A Developmental Approach

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When examining the above perspectives on suc and knowledge application Baltes Willis 1977. cessful aging two notable points emerge First theo That is theoretical guidance will advance research. retical guidance in the related investigations is lacking beyond exploratory stages into more formalized hy. The research in general represents exploratory ven pothesis testing endeavors. tures wherein particular measures of well being are Danish and D Augelli 1980 have summarized in a. correlated with various indices of context e g marital generic fashion the characteristics of the optimization. status socioeconomic status health A priori theoret model being advocated These include statements. ical accounts of why certain variables are likely to be about desirable goals or end states of behavior a focus. correlated with life satisfaction are missing and ob on sequential change emphasis on techniques of op. tained findings are left in a sort of explanatory ambi timization consideration of the individual as an inte. guity Even the recent causal model of life satisfaction grative biopsychosocial unit and a view of develop. proposed by Markides and Martin 1979 was formu ment occurring in a changing biocultural context Such. lated more on the basis of psychometric explorations a model of progressive growth processes will generate. than the development of an explicit theoretical ration knowledge critical from the interventive standpoint. ale From the standpoint of environmental engineering wherein the traditional emphasis on alleviative after. Fozard Popkin 1978 the lack of theory makes it the problem strategies is being challenged by a con. additionally difficult to define what constitutes opti cern for preventive or enhancement strategies Thus. mal vision memory or learning among older adults rather than focus on the identification of conditions. Second and most important research on successful leading to problems the optimization model focuses. aging has focused largely on dependent variables that on identification of conditions that lead to growth. could characterize optimal functioning at any age The aim is to help individuals encounter the future so. period Happiness adjustment and morale are more that events become opportunities for self enhance. measures of successful living regardless of age than ment The implementation of such a model is how. they are indicants of the unique challenges of growing ever contingent on a well grounded knowledge of. old effectively The possibility that successful aging adaptive functioning The optimization growth ori. may involve the resolution of issues separate from ented theories to be presented are viewed as mecha. other age periods is intimated in Cutler s 1979 differ nisms by which such knowledge could accumulate. entiation of life satisfaction according to age groups Personality defined as the enduring dimensions or. as well as Fozard and Popkin s 1978 emphasis on the distinctive characteristics of the individual Staub. unique environmental demands and adaptive capaci 1980 is a useful forum for illustrating the merit of a. ties at various phases of adulthood It is also indicated developmental approach to successful aging To begin. by the adaptive tasks of aging formulated by Clark with personality does not have the built in inevitabil. and Anderson 1967 These included having a percep ities of decline characteristic of physiologically linked. tion of aging and a sense of instrumental limitations processes such as memory vision or cognition It. redefining one s physical and social life space substi might even be speculated that personality is the realm. tuting alternative sources of need satisfaction reas compensating for loss in other spheres Additionally. sessing the criteria for evaluation of self and reinte personality as a realm of study can persuasively illus. grating values and life goals The identification of the trate a theory guided approach because it possesses. unique qualities of successful living in adulthood and the necessary optimization theories These theories. aging along with the concern for an interpretive the have for the most part been neglected in the formu. oretical framework constitute key elements of the lation of relevant research Renewed attention to the. alternative approach to successful aging being advo richness of available theory and heightened commit. cated herein ment to refining and advancing such theory represent. a major objective of the present perspective,Successful Aging from a Theory Guided. Developmental Perspective Revitalizing Neglected Theory. The newness of the present approach to successful The psychosocial stage model of ego development. aging is reflected in its joint focus on developmental formulated by Erikson 1959 is perhaps the most well. processes and theoretical guidance The developmen known exemplar of life span developmental theory. tal aspect underscores the aim of identifying the With regard to adulthood the primary crises for the. uniquely positive characteristics and challenges of expanding ego are the tasks of intimacy young adult. adulthood and old age That is a developmental ori hood generativity middle adulthood and integrity. entation searches for the higher more differentiated old age Empirical research has generally employed. growth processes that occur with aging rather than these concepts in an ex post facto fashion They are. examining essentially nondevelopmental dimensions presented in discussion sections to interpret obtained. e g life satisfaction that could be used to investigate findings rather than relied on in the formation of. subjective well being in any age period These growth research designs or measurement instruments There. oriented developmental changes will be pursued are notable exceptions studies in which the intent has. through application of existing theoretical models the been to operationalize the concepts themselves. second major element of a new approach to successful Baker 1971 Boyd Koskela 1970 Constantinople. aging The emphasis on theory responds to a concern 1969 Marcia 1966 Whitbourne Waterman 1979. for a systematic approach to knowledge generation although these have focused primarily on the identity. 210 The Gerontologist, issues of adolescence and the intimacy concerns of inner world orientation Gutmann 1964 Neugarten. young adulthood 1968 provide additional clarity to the unique person. The ego challenge of middle adulthood generativity ality demands of middle and late adulthood. versus stagnation is largely unexplored empirically It Perhaps least attended to among available optimi. is expressed theoretically through a concern for estab zation theories is Buhler s Buhler 1935 Buhler. lishing and guiding the next generation and showing Massarik 1968 formulation of the basic life tendencies. an emphasis on productivity and creativity These the that work toward the fulfillment of life Buhler in. oretical ideas suggest possibilities for growth for the response to the pervasive Freudian view of the 1930 s. middle aged individual the opportunity to move be asserted that homeostasis was not a goal in itself but. yond the self directed concerns of identity or the merely a favorable condition of functioning She stated. interpersonal dimensions of intimacy into a phase that the organism s goal was to be active and produc. wherein one s skill and knowledge are shared with tive in a reality that allowed for accomplishments. younger individuals and one assumes leadership and Thus Buhler proposed need satisfaction self limiting. decision making roles adaptation creative expansion and upholding inter. The final stage of ego development integrity versus nal order as basic life tendencies. despair is perhaps the most enticing and elusive of all Their implicit ultimate intent is self development the. stages Many aspects of integrity have been identified establishment of contacts the mastering of reality the ful. by Erikson 1959 emotional integration accepting fillment of life through integrated actualization of the indi. one s life cycle as something that had to be feeling a vidual s potentials Buhler Massarik 1968 p 923. comradeship with the ways of distant times having, adapted oneself to the triumphs and disappointments Need satisfaction the pursuit of tension reducing sa. of being possessing a love of humankind rather than tisfiers and self limiting adaptation adapting one s. self and finally achieving a spiritual sense that elim behavior to that of others in order to belong and. inates the fear of death Surely one who evidences participate are the prominent tendencies or goals of. these qualities would be deemed to have aged suc infancy and later childhood Creative expansion the. cessfully More important is the possibility that these eminent tendency of adulthood refers to goals of. achievements are distinct to old age and are intrinsic advancing in the world and changing it creatively. to reaching the end of a long life As expressed by through physical or mental activities It stresses lead. Jung 1933 ership influence productivity and even aggressive. behavior Upholding internal order the most complex. A human being would certainly not grow to be seventy or of the basic life tendencies prevails during the climac. eighty years old if this longevity had no meaning for the teric age a phrase used symbolically by Buhler to refer. species to which he belonged The afternoon of human life. must also have a significance of its own and cannot be to the lengthy period of time following reproductive. merely a pitiful appendage to life s morning p 109 capacity This tendency comprises different ordering. principles that work toward the unity of personality. Thus whether manifest through ego integrity or Jung s and behavior In later life such principles are found in. concept of self illumination the unique significance the integrating operations of goals ideals and self. of old age emerges and the unique growth processes assessments In combination Buhler s life tendencies. are further identified of adulthood and old age hold merit for the investi. Neugarten 1968 1973 through a combination of gation of successful aging They both highlight the. theoretical and empirical endeavors has also clarified unique challenges of various life periods and provide. the specific personality challenges of middle and old guidelines as to the type of behaviors that will evi. age With regard to the former she has formulated the dence successful resolution of the challenge. executive processes of middle age self awareness When viewed in concert the above works warrant. selectivity manipulation and control of the environ three summary points First there is no single form of. ment mastery and competence She has described successful development whether in middle or old age. the incredible complexity shown in the behavior of The theories reflect a multiplicity of characteristics by. the middle aged business executive who manages and which one might be deemed as developing optimally. schedules a demanding professional life differentiates Hence the dilemma of value judgments inherent in. between responsibilities to be delegated to others and defining successful aging is mitigated by the variety of. those to be completed by oneself and further man behaviors reflective of growth Second although the. ages to satisfy a multiplicity of emotional sexual and present treatment has stressed the positive bright side. aesthetic needs In contrast to the 47 year old s view of change it is relevant to note that many of the above. of the environment as rewarding risk taking and bold theorists provided telling descriptions of what might. ness Neugarten described the 60 year old as being be considered unsuccessful aging These are further. more conforming and accommodative to outer world helpful in differentiating the concept of optimal de. demands This inward turning of ego functions known velopment and useful in identifying impediments to. as the process of interiority represents a key person its attainment Finally it must be acknowledged that. ality issue of old age It is perhaps through such inward the theoretical ideas proffered exist in crude form. turning that one manages to achieve the emotional they are a blend of enticing words that for the most. integration described by Erikson The above processes part lack explicit formulations or interlocking state. further described as the active to passive mastery se ments of laws They are in short prototheories Baltes. quence and the change from an outer world to an Willis 1977 and represent the mere beginnings of. Vol 22 No 2 1982 211, theoretical precision From the standpoint of success is not an appropriate characterization of a stage ap. ful aging the starting points are sufficiently rich to proach within the personality domain Available the. merit efforts toward theoretical clarification refine ories capitalize on the positive aspects of stage theory. ment and extension by formulating optimal development but they do so. without the straitjacket imposed by biological growth. models Parenthetically it is worth noting that stage. Explaining the Theoretical Neglect, theories of personality development have always been.
The rich dimensions suggested by the above theo more attentive to the unique issues of adulthood and. retical formulations have not had a broad impact on aging than stage theories in other domains such as. personality research in adulthood and old age One cognitive development in which final developmental. Successful Aging A Developmental Approach Carol D Ryff PhD1 Like goodness truth and other human ideals suc cessful aging may appeal more than it illuminates It is an image that attracts human interest but defies easy or consensual definition As growing numbers of peo ple anticipate a long old age the meaning of success ful aging takes on even greater importance Formula tions of the

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