Butler's life review: how universal is it?

Int J Aging Hum Dev. 1993;37(3):163-75. doi: 10.2190/RTKY-8VUD-HBEG-12L8.


In the nearly thirty years since Butler first proposed the life review, the notion that older persons review their lives in the face of approaching death has become firmly entrenched in both the literature and practice of gerontology. This article examines the commonly-held assumptions underlying the life review and reviews what previous studies have found in testing these assumptions. Findings from a recent study of centenarians are also presented that further call into question some aspects of the life review.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over / psychology
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Attitude to Death
  • Awareness
  • Cohort Studies
  • Ego
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Mental Recall*
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Development*
  • Self Concept