Research Networks

Research Network on Successful Aging

The Research Network on Successful Aging offered a new perspective on adult development and aging — to discover and study the factors that enable people to maintain good mental and physical functioning into old age.

Supported by MacArthur from 1985 to 1996

About This Network

This network was formed in recognition that the U.S. population is aging, and that the fastest growing segment of the population today is those of age 85 or older. The general response to this demographic shift was to focus on the infirmities of old age and on who would care for the elderly. This network offered a new perspective on adult development and aging — to discover and study the factors that enable people to maintain good mental and physical functioning into old age. The research focused on two important attributes of the older person: vitality and resilience. The network was instrumental in bringing the concept of successful aging to the forefront of research on aging, providing a re-conceptualization of the aging process as not inevitably one of decline and disability but rather one with potential for positive outcomes. It demonstrated that there are a number of important behavioral, social and psychologic al factors that are associated with successful aging, and that many of these factors, including increased physical activity and social interaction, are potential targets for intervention. The best-selling book, Successful Aging, is a network product that has been influential in both public and academic spheres.

Publications

Network Chair

John W. Rowe, M.D.

For additional information, contact Stephen Stinson

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