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Dissertation

Successful Aging: A Quantitative Study of Resiliency and Adaptability as Mediating Factors in the Successful Aging of Older Adults

8 July 2009

Abstract

Researchers have substantiated a lack of agreement between researcher-defined and subjective ratings of successful aging and indicated a relationship between subjective ratings of successful aging and resiliency and positive adaptation. The researcher of the current study considered whether resiliency and positive adaptation partially explain the variance in scores of subjective ratings of successful aging and the observed discrepancy between self- and researcher-defined ratings of successful aging. Participants were sixty-one adults over the age of 65, residing in a senior living facility in Portland, Oregon. Participants were asked via a questionnaire survey to rate their own degree of successful aging, activity levels, resilience, daily functioning, and health-related quality of life. Participants’ subjective ratings of successful aging were compared with researcher criteria for successful aging, as defined by Rowe and Kahn (1998) and the predictive ability of resiliency and positive adaptation on scores of subjective rating of successful aging were examined. Ninety-three percent of the participants rated themselves as aging successfully, and a majority met research criteria for independent living, mastery/growth, activity, positive adaptation and life satisfaction. Only two persons were considered to be free from disability and not a single participant met Rowe and Kahn’s criteria for aging successfully. Subjective ratings of successful aging were significantly correlated with positive adaptation, better general health scores, social functioning, mastery/growth and life satisfaction, however, resiliency and positive adaptation did not explain a significant amount of the variance in self-ratings of successful aging.


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