Successful aging from the viewpoint of older adults

Res Theory Nurs Pract. 2014;28(1):87-104. doi: 10.1891/1541-6577.28.1.87.


The purpose of this study was to investigate older adults' perceptions of successful aging within the context of the theory of successful aging to validate and further inform this theory. This research was a secondary, qualitative analysis of data from two earlier studies in which participants were asked to provide a response to the open-ended question, "What does successful aging mean to you?" Content analysis using multiple coding was independently conducted by the investigators. Eight broad themes emerged: active independence, relationships with people, relationship with God, comfort resources, health, beneficial contribution, positive perspective/coping, and freedom. Differences and similarities of themes by study subgroups were also explored. The coping processes, functional performance mechanisms, and intrapsychic factors from the theory of successful aging were well represented in the findings of this study. The coping process of spirituality was less frequently represented, whereas that of gerotranscendence was slightly more often described. Interventions that enhance these factors associated with successful aging have the potential to improve quality of life and provide appealing, meaningful activities for older adults.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Religion
  • Surveys and Questionnaires