ARCHIVE - Layperspectives of successful aging


Although many studies investigate successful aging, there are ongoing discussions among aging researchers about what successful aging means. Despite the lack of scientific consensus, only few studies have addressed what lay persons conceive as successful aging. As it can be problematic to communicate and to develop successful interventions when both scientific and lay perspectives of aging well do not match, our studies explore in more detail laypersons’ ideas about successful aging and to what extent they  are reflected in theories on successful aging. More recently, we have started investigating how individuals develop their views on aging. This is of particular importance as societal views on aging are dominated by negative stereotypes, which have been found to negatively influence not only how individuals experience their own aging, but also the actual aging process. Thus, gaining a better understanding of how individuals may adopt positive views on aging that counteract these negative stereotypes is of particular importance. One mechanism could be role models of successful aging which we investigate in several ongoing studies. Furthermore, we investigate to what extent the family context, including the quality of the relationship to parents, determines how younger individuals experience their own aging.