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Crosnoe, Robert & Elder, Glen H., Jr. (2002). Successful Adaptation in the Later Years: A Life Course Approach to Aging. Social Psychology Quarterly, 65(4), 309-328.


This study draws on contemporary themes of aging research by focusing on successful adaptation in the later years and by viewing aging as a lifelong process. We used person-oriented analysis to categorize men age 58 to 72 from the Stanford-Terman study according to patterns of life satisfaction, vitality, family engagement, occupational attainment, and civic involvement. Four styles of aging emerged: less adjusted, career-focused but socially disengaged, family-focused, and well-rounded. We employed multinomial logistic regression to predict aging style by aspects of current life and by four sets of life course factors: developmental trajectories, social pathways, social convoys, and turning points. Current health and socioeconomic status predicted more successful aging styles; beyond current circumstances, long-term marital stability, persistent alcoholism, patterns of religious involvement, and specific traumatic experiences also were related to aging style. Overall, the less adjusted and the career-focused men displayed many similarities, as did the family-focused and the well-adjusted men.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Social Psychology Quarterly


Crosnoe, Robert
Elder, Glen H., Jr.