What explains aging and dying well? Previous research primarily examined the effects of objective life conditions (e.g., physical health, finances, socioeconomic status, age, social relationships) on older adults’ subjective well-being, whereas their internal strengths have often been ignored. Applying theories of life-long psychosocial growth and the life course principles of life span development and human agency, and using a sample of 144 older community residents, nursing home residents, and hospice patients (aged 56+) living in North Central Florida, this study investigated the effects of older people’s psychosocial strengths (their wisdom, mastery, purpose in life) and spirituality on subjective well-being and death attitudes. Wisdom was defined and operationalized as a combination of cognitive, reflective, and compassionate personality characteristics. Results of hierarchical regression analyses showed that, contrary to situational theory, internal strengths of the aged had a stronger effect on greater subjective well-being and less death fear than on objective circumstances.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Positive Psychology|
|Subtitle of host publication||Advances in understanding adult motivation|
|Place of Publication||New York|
|Publisher||Springer New York|
|State||Published - 2013|
- purpose in life
Ardelt, M., Landes, S., Gerlach, K. R., & Fox, L. P. (2013). Rediscovering internal strengths of the aged: The beneficial impact of wisdom, mastery, purpose in life, and spirituality on aging well. In J. Sinnott (Ed.), Positive Psychology: Advances in understanding adult motivation (pp. 97-119). Springer New York.