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Hagestad, Gunhild O. & Uhlenberg, Peter (2006). Should We Be Concerned about Age Segregation? Some Theoretical and Empirical Explorations. Research on Aging, 28(6), 638-653.


With its complex links to the division of labor and culture, age is also related to social integration. It can form a basis for social integration and form contrasts, chasms, and conflicts in society. After providing a brief history of how social scientists have viewed age as an integrative and a segregative force in society, the authors consider dimensions of age segregation in contemporary Western societies, which are marked by widespread institutional, spatial, and cultural age segregation, with only the family surviving as an age-integrated institution. For older adults, ties to children and grandchildren represent possibilities for learning and the development of generativity: investment in the lives of others and in the future of human communities. The link between cross-generational ties and generativity appears to be particularly clear for men. Can we rely on families to counter the potentially negative consequences of societal age segregation, or should we be concerned about family change, such as rising rates of childlessness?


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Research on Aging


Hagestad, Gunhild O.
Uhlenberg, Peter