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Adding life to one’s added years: Self-regulatory balancing of life domains across old age


Napolitano, Christopher M; Freund, Alexandra M (2019). Adding life to one’s added years: Self-regulatory balancing of life domains across old age. Advances in Life Course Research, 41:100278.

Abstract

As life-span developmental psychologists, our research programs focus on the description, explanation, and optimization of human behavior and development (e.g., Baltes, Reese, & Nesselroade, 1977; Lerner, 2012). Traditionally, this work adopts an action-theoretical accounting of the basic processes for human development (Brandtstädter & Lerner, 1999) arguing that in addition to biological and environmental factors, people are the active producers of their own development (Lerner & Busch-Rossnagel, 1981), creating their futures through setting and striving for goals. For decades, life-span developmental psychologists and life course sociologists have fruitfully conversed and collaborated to push their fields forward, developing research projects, applied programs, and supporting policies that have improved lives and our understanding of how they unfold. We hope that our comments on the commendable target article by Bernardi, Huinink, and Settersten (2018; this issue) contribute to this decades-long productive conversation across academic disciplines.

Our goal here is to complicate a portion of the target article that focuses on interdependencies across life domains (e.g., work, family, education). We do so by introducing a new “wrinkle:” life-span developmental psychology’s perspectives on successful aging (e.g., Freund, 2008). In short, we argue that the lack of social norms that characterize aging populations provide older adults with a (1) significant challenge to their self-regulatory capacity, but also (2) a significant opportunity — that is arguably unique across the life span — to actively define and select domains in life to support their successful aging. Therefore, the interdependency of life domains in older adulthood may represent a special case that expands and further enriches the Life Course Cube model (Bernardi, Huinink, & Settersten, this issue).

Abstract

As life-span developmental psychologists, our research programs focus on the description, explanation, and optimization of human behavior and development (e.g., Baltes, Reese, & Nesselroade, 1977; Lerner, 2012). Traditionally, this work adopts an action-theoretical accounting of the basic processes for human development (Brandtstädter & Lerner, 1999) arguing that in addition to biological and environmental factors, people are the active producers of their own development (Lerner & Busch-Rossnagel, 1981), creating their futures through setting and striving for goals. For decades, life-span developmental psychologists and life course sociologists have fruitfully conversed and collaborated to push their fields forward, developing research projects, applied programs, and supporting policies that have improved lives and our understanding of how they unfold. We hope that our comments on the commendable target article by Bernardi, Huinink, and Settersten (2018; this issue) contribute to this decades-long productive conversation across academic disciplines.

Our goal here is to complicate a portion of the target article that focuses on interdependencies across life domains (e.g., work, family, education). We do so by introducing a new “wrinkle:” life-span developmental psychology’s perspectives on successful aging (e.g., Freund, 2008). In short, we argue that the lack of social norms that characterize aging populations provide older adults with a (1) significant challenge to their self-regulatory capacity, but also (2) a significant opportunity — that is arguably unique across the life span — to actively define and select domains in life to support their successful aging. Therefore, the interdependency of life domains in older adulthood may represent a special case that expands and further enriches the Life Course Cube model (Bernardi, Huinink, & Settersten, this issue).

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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
Uncontrolled Keywords:Life-span and Life-course Studies
Language:English
Date:1 September 2019
Deposited On:30 Mar 2020 12:08
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 12:06
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1569-4909
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.alcr.2019.04.008
Official URL:https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1040260819300474
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID100019_173249
  • : Project TitleAge-related differences in the use and utility of backup plans: Comparing contingency and redundancy
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID51NF40-185901
  • : Project Titlelife course perspectives (phase III)

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