Successful aging: focus on cognitive and emotional health

Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2010:6:527-50. doi: 10.1146/annurev.clinpsy.121208.131449.


We review the definitions, predictors, and biobehavioral determinants of successful aging, as well as the evidence for and mechanisms of underlying selected interventions to enhance cognitive and emotional health in older adults. Defining successful aging has proven difficult, with discrepancies seen among biomedical, psychological, and lay perspectives. Although consensus is lacking, a number of studies have examined the genetic, lifestyle, and social determinants of operationalized determinants of successful aging; qualitative examinations of the meaning of the construct have also been conducted. The determinants coincide with fundamental aspects of aging. Recent clinical trials suggest that caloric restriction, physical activity, cognitive intervention, stress reduction, and social programs may enhance cognitive and emotional health in older people.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Achievement*
  • Affect*
  • Aging*
  • Biomarkers
  • Cognition*
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiology
  • Phenotype
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiology


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines