Successful aging and life satisfaction: A pilot study for conceptual clarification


Successful aging has often been equated with life satisfaction, but some argue the need to separate the two concepts and to specify the meanings older people attach to these concepts. This research sought to identify how older people understood life satisfaction and successful aging and what they viewed as essential for each. Open-ended interviews were conducted with a sample of older people (n = 19) at a Senior Activity center. Respondents were asked to explain what successful aging and life satisfaction meant to them, what was necessary for each, and what prevented each. While there were some overlaps in older people s understandings of these concepts, one key difference did emerge from the qualitative data. Respondents described life satisfaction in terms of past expectations and present circumstances, while successful aging was more oriented to strategies for coping in later life and maintaining a positive outlook. © 1992.

Document Type




Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Aging Studies