Students will select any one article provided. The article is to be summarized on no more than 2 sides / pages and should include the following information:

Research design (What they did)

Research Method (How they did it)

Method of analysis (how they analysed)

Key theories of principles of gerontology (The Background)

Key findings

Implications (how does it impact the real world?)


Reflection on the quality of research and contribution to academic knowledge and applicability.

Fiona Crawford, NH, Phil Hanlon, Jill Muirie, and DO, who all
contributed equally to the thinking that inspired this article.
Funding: None.
Competing interests: None declared.

1 Obesity: preventing and managing the global epidemic. Report of a
WHO consultation. World Health Organization Technical Report Series

2 Storing up problems: the medical case for a slimmer nation. London: Royal
College of Physicians of London, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child
Health, and Faculty of Public Health, 2004.

3 Egger G, Swinburn B. An “ecological” approach to the obesity pandemic.
BMJ 1997;315:477-80.

4 Department of Health. Choosing health: making healthier choices easier. Lon-
don: Stationery Office, 2004.

5 Asp N-G, Björntorp P, Britton M, Carlsson P, Kjellström T, Marcus C, et al.
Obesity — problems and interventions. Stockholm: Statens beredning för
medicinsk utvärdering (The Swedish Council on Technology Assessment
in Health Care), 2002.

6 Ebbeling C, Pawlak D, Ludwig D. Childhood obesity: public-health crisis,
common sense cure. Lancet 2002;360:473-82.

7 Department for Transport. Transport statistics bulletin: national travel survey
2002. London: Stationery Office, 2004.

8 Peters J, Wyatt H, Donahoo W, Hill J. From instinct to intellect: the chal-
lenge of maintaining healthy weight in the modern world. Obes Rev

9 Swinburn B, Egger G. The runaway weight gain train: too many accelera-
tors, not enough brakes. BMJ 2004;329:736-9.

10 Day J. Scottish schools ban food adverts. Guardian 2003;24 Dec.,,1112620,00.html
(accessed 27 Jan 2004).

11 Neroth P. Fat of the land. Lancet 2004;364:651-3.
12 World Health Organization. Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic dis-

eases. Report of a joint WHO/FAO expert consultation. Geneva: WHO,

13 Cable News Network. Transcript of President Bush’s address to a joint
session of Congress on Thursday night, Sept 20, 2001. http:// (accessed 27 Jan

14 Hamilton C. Growth fetish. London: Pluto, 2004.
15 Department for Transport. It’s no joke. (accessed 10

Jun 2005).
16 Lean M. Prognosis in obesity. BMJ 2005;330:1339-40.
17 Ellaway A, Macintyre S. “5-a-day” may be harder to achieve in more

deprived areas. J Epidemiol Community Health 2004;58:892.
18 Ellaway A, Macintyre S. Play areas for children. J Epidemiol Community

Health 2003;57:315.
(Accepted 14 October 2005)

What is successful ageing and who should define it?
Ann Bowling, Paul Dieppe

A definition of successful ageing needs to include elements that matter to elderly people

The substantial increases in life expectancy at birth
achieved over the previous century, combined with
medical advances, escalating health an

43© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved.
For permissions, please e-mail: [email protected].

Examining Rowe and Kahn’s Concept of
Successful Aging: Importance of Taking a Life
Course Perspective
James D. Stowe, MS*,1,2 and Teresa M. Cooney, PhD3

1Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Missouri, Columbia. 2Frank
L. Mitchell Jr., MD Trauma Center, University of Missouri Hospital, Columbia. 3Department of Sociology,
University of Colorado Denver.

*Address correspondence to James Stowe, MS, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, University of
Missouri, 314 Gentry Hall, Columbia, MO 65211. E-mail: [email protected]

Received January 10 2014; Accepted April 23 2014.

Decision Editor: Helen Q. Kivnick, PhD

Purpose of the Study: This article critiques Rowe and Kahn’s conceptualization of suc-
cessful aging using tenets of the life course perspective.
Design and Methods: A review and synthesis of the literature on successful aging and
studies that use a life course perspective.
Results: We draw on life course principles that view development as a dynamic life-
long process, embedded in historical time and place, and influenced by the web of rela-
tionships individuals are linked to, as well as more distal social structural factors. This
discussion questions the relatively static nature of Rowe and Kahn’s successful aging
model, its emphasis on personal control over one’s later-life outcomes, and neglect of
historical and cultural context, social relationships, and structural forces in influencing
later-life functioning.
Implications: Caution in using the model in its current formulation is needed, and we
promote thinking about how successful aging can better align with micro- and mac-
rolevel issues through utilization of a life course perspective.

Key words: Successful aging, Life course perspective, Theory, Positive aging, Life span

Our goal is to summarize and advance a critique of
John Rowe and Robert Kahn’s (1987, 1997, 1998)

conceptualization of successful aging (SA) from a life course
perspective (Elder, Johnson, & Crosnoe, 2003). Introduced


Special Issue:
Successful Aging

The Gerontologist, 2015, Vol. 55, No. 1, 43–50

Research Article
Special Issue: Successful Aging

Advance Access publication June 6, 2014

Downloaded from
by guest
on 10 February 2018


© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved.
For permissions, please e-mail: [email protected].

Successful Aging and Its Discontents:
A Systematic Review of the Social Gerontology
Marty Martinson, DrPH*,1 and Clara Berridge, MSW2

1Department of Health Education, San Francisco State University, California. 2School of Social Welfare,
University of California, Berkeley.

*Address correspondence to Marty Martinson, DrPH, Department of Health Education, San Francisco State University, 1600
Holloway Avenue, HSS Building, Room 326, San Francisco, CA 94132. E-mail: [email protected]

Received January 10 2014; Accepted March 28 2014.

Decision Editor: Rachel Pruchno, PhD

Purpose of the Study: The purpose of this study was to analyze the range of critiques
of successful aging models and the suggestions for improvement as expressed in the
social gerontology literature.
Design and Methods: We conducted a systematic literature review using the follow-
ing criteria: journal articles retrieved in the Abstracts in Social Gerontology, published
1987–2013, successful aging/ageing in the title or text (n = 453), a critique of successful
aging models as a key component of the article. Sixty-seven articles met the criteria.
Qualitative methods were used to identify key themes and inductively configure mean-
ings across the range of critiques.
Results: The critiques and remedies fell into 4 categories. The Add and Stir group sug-
gested a multidimensional expansion of successful aging criteria and offered an array
of additions. The Missing Voices group advocated for adding older adults’ subjective
meanings of successful aging to established objective measures. The Hard Hitting
Critiques group called for more just and inclusive frameworks that embrace diversity,
avoid stigma and discrimination, and intervene at structural contexts of aging. The New
Frames and Names group presented alternative ideal models often grounded in Eastern
Implications: The vast array of criteria that gerontologists collectively offered to expand
Rowe and Kahn’s original successful model is symptomatic of the problem that a

Special Issue:
Successful Aging

The Gerontologist, 2015, Vol. 55, No. 1, 58–69

Research Article
Special Issue: Successful Aging

Advance Access publication May 9, 2014


Downloaded from
by guest
on 10 February 2018

Not Your Parents’ Test Scores: Cohort Reduces Psychometric
Aging Effects

Elizabeth M. Zelinski and
University of Southern California

Robert F. Kennison
California State University, Los Angeles


Increases over birth cohorts in psychometric abilities may impact effects of aging. Data from 2

cohorts of the Long Beach Longitudinal Study, matched on age but tested 16 years apart, were

modeled over ages 55–87 to test the hypothesis that the more fluid abilities of reasoning, list and

text recall, and space would show larger cohort differences than vocabulary. This hypothesis was

confirmed. At age 74, average performance estimates for people from the more recently born

cohort were equivalent to those of people from the older cohort when they were up to 15 years

younger. This finding suggests that older adults may perform like much younger ones from the

previous generation on fluid measures, indicating higher levels of abilities than expected. This

result could have major implications for the expected productivity of an aging workforce as well

as for the quality of life of future generations. However, cohort improvements did not mitigate age



cohort aging; longitudinal; cognition; intelligence

Over the last 50 years, there have been systematic increases in fluid intelligence measures

across birth cohorts in many developed countries (e.g., Flynn, 1987). Despite this finding,

the vast majority of studies in cognitive aging (e.g., Salthouse, 2004) have compared people

of different ages and generations to estimate aging effects. Their conclusions therefore rest

on the assumption that cohort does not bias results. In this paper, we test hypotheses about

the role of cohort on age changes on five different cognitive psychometric tests. Cohort-

sequential panel data from the Long Beach Longitudinal Study were analyzed over age

using latent growth modeling, with cohort effects tested as differences between two panels

of participants from the same age ranges but initially tested 16 years apart. Findings of

cohort differences in psychometric aging would not only have implications for theories of

Copyright 2007 by the American Psychological Association

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Elizabeth M. Zelinski, Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, Andrus
Gerontology Center, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0191.
[email protected].
Elizabeth M. Zelinski, Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California; Robert F. Kennison, Department of
Psychology, California State University, Los Angeles.
The contr


Copyright 2002 by The Gerontological Society of AmericaThe Gerontologist
Vol. 42, No. 5, 613–620

Vol. 42, No. 5, 2002

Rowe and Kahn’s Model of Successful Aging
Revisited: Positive Spirituality—The
Forgotten Factor

Martha R. Crowther, PhD, MPH,


Michael W. Parker, DSW,


W. A. Achenbaum, PhD,


Walter L. Larimore, MD,


and Harold G. Koenig, MD



We explain a new concept, positive spirituality,
and offer evidence that links positive spirituality with
health; describe effective partnerships between health
professionals and religious communities; and summa-
rize the information as a basis for strengthening the exist-
ing successful aging model proposed by Rowe and

Design and Methods:

A missing component to
Rowe and Kahn’s three-factor model of successful aging is
identified, and we propose strengthening the model with a
fourth factor, positive spirituality.


We devel-
oped an enhanced model of successful aging based on
Rowe and Kahn’s theoretical framework. Evidence pre-
sented suggests that the addition of spirituality to interven-
tions focused on health promotion has been received
positively by older adults.


Leaders in ger-
ontology often fail to incorporate the growing body of sci-
entific evidence regarding health, aging, and spirituality
into their conceptual models to promote successful aging.
The proposed enhancement of Rowe and Kahn’s model
will help health professionals, religious organizations,
and governmental agencies work collaboratively to pro-
mote wellness among older adults.

Key Words: Religion, Faith-based interventions,

Churches, Older adults

The spiritual dimension of older adults has not
been integrated into promising intervention models
that promote successful aging. The lack of interest in

issues of spirituality and aging may be analogous to
the unwillingness of older people to act upon or com-
ply with prescribed treatments. “As we find ways to
improve the lives of older people and ameliorate the
diseases which afflict them, we are also confronted by
the reality that we are often unable to successfully uti-
lize these discoveries” (Antonucci, 2000, p. 5).

As a means of consolidating knowledge and prac-
tice, the MacArthur Foundation offered a promising
set of studies on successful aging. In summarizing the
findings, Rowe and Kahn’s (1998) model provided
scientifically grounded parameters for understanding
health across the life course and goals for construct-
ing a framework for interventions. However, despite
the advant

The Forum
Copyright 1997 by
The Cerontological Society of America

The Cerontologist
Vol. 37, No. 4, 433-440

Substantial increases in the relative and absolute number of older persons in our society
pose a challenge for biology, social and behavioral science, and medicine. Successful aging

is multidimensional, encompassing the avoidance of disease and disability, the
maintenance of high physical and cognitive function, and sustained engagement in social

and productive activities. Research has identified factors predictive of success in these
critical domains. The stage is set for intervention studies to enhance the proportion of our

population aging successfully.
Key Words: Aging, Cognition, Physical function, Engagement, MacArthur Foundation

Successful Aging1

John W. Rowe, MD2 and Robert L Kahn, PhD3

In an earlier article (Rowe & Kahn, 1987), we pro-
posed the distinction between usual and successful
aging as nonpathologic states. Our purpose in
doing so was to counteract the longstanding ten-
dency of gerontology to emphasize only the distinc-
tion between the pathologic and nonpathologic,
that is, between older people with diseases or dis-
abilities and those suffering from neither. The im-
plicit assumption of that earlier gerontology was
that, in the absence of disease and disability, other
age-related alterations in physical function (such as
increases in blood pressure and blood glucose) and
Cognitive function (such as modest memory impair-
ment) were “normal,” determined by intrinsic aging
processes, primarily genetic, and not associated
with risk.

We hoped that the distinction between two
groups of nondiseased older persons — usual (non-
pathologic but high risk) and successful (low risk and
high function) — would help to correct those ten-
dencies, stimulate research on the criteria and deter-
minants of successful aging, and identify proper tar-
gets for interventions with “normal” elderly. In
recent years, “successful aging” has. become a famil-
iar term among gerontologists (Abeles, Gift, & Ory,
1994; Baltes & Baltes, 1990; Garfein & Herzog, 1995;
Hazzard, 1995) and a considerable body of research
has accumulated on its characteristics. Much of this
work was supported by the MacArthur Foundation

‘Supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation,
Chicago, IL

‘Address correspondence to John W. Rowe, MD, President, Mount Sinai
School of Medicine and The Mount Sinai Hospital, Mount Sinai Medical
Center, One Custave L. Levy Place, New York, NY 10029.

‘University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, M l .

Research Network on Successful Aging. In this article
we summarize the central findings of that work, pro-
pose a conceptual framework for successful aging,
and consider some pathways or mechanisms that
make for successful old age.