A continuity theory of normal aging

Gerontologist. 1989 Apr;29(2):183-90. doi: 10.1093/geront/29.2.183.


Continuity Theory holds that, in making adaptive choices, middle-aged and older adults attempt to preserve and maintain existing internal and external structures; and they prefer to accomplish this objective by using strategies tied to their past experiences of themselves and their social world. Change is linked to the person's perceived past, producing continuity in inner psychological characteristics as well as in social behavior and in social circumstances. Continuity is thus a grand adaptive strategy that is promoted by both individual preference and social approval.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Aging / physiology
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Psychological Theory
  • Social Adjustment