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Successful aging as management of resources: The role of selection, optimization, and compensation


Freund, Alexandra M (2008). Successful aging as management of resources: The role of selection, optimization, and compensation. Research in Human Development, 5(2):94-106.

Abstract

One of the central tenets of life-span psychology is that the process of development entails gains and losses that occur over the entire life span. Thus, Paul and Margret Baltes (1990) conceptualized successful aging as a lifelong process of maximizing gains and minimizing losses by means of three processes: selection, optimization, and compensation (SOC). This article reviews empirical studies that have investigated the use of SOC during adulthood with different methodological approaches and have found evidence for the importance of SOC for successfully managing one's resources. The article highlights the importance of prioritizing goals (selection) according to their importance for increasing gains (optimization) and avoiding losses (compensation) in consideration of currently available resources. Age-related changes in resource availability and time perspective can also result in a shift in goal orientation towards gains or losses and in goal focus on the process or the outcome of goal pursuit. Taken together, the action-theoretical approach to the SOC framework suggests that selection, optimization, and compensation can be seen as key concepts for understanding successful aging.

One of the central tenets of life-span psychology is that the process of development entails gains and losses that occur over the entire life span. Thus, Paul and Margret Baltes (1990) conceptualized successful aging as a lifelong process of maximizing gains and minimizing losses by means of three processes: selection, optimization, and compensation (SOC). This article reviews empirical studies that have investigated the use of SOC during adulthood with different methodological approaches and have found evidence for the importance of SOC for successfully managing one's resources. The article highlights the importance of prioritizing goals (selection) according to their importance for increasing gains (optimization) and avoiding losses (compensation) in consideration of currently available resources. Age-related changes in resource availability and time perspective can also result in a shift in goal orientation towards gains or losses and in goal focus on the process or the outcome of goal pursuit. Taken together, the action-theoretical approach to the SOC framework suggests that selection, optimization, and compensation can be seen as key concepts for understanding successful aging.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:April 2008
Deposited On:06 Mar 2009 13:35
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:08
Publisher:Taylor & Francis Group
ISSN:1542-7609
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/15427600802034827
Related URLs: (Publisher)
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-17154

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