Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.H.K.

Department

Kinesiology

First Advisor

McNevin, Nancy

Second Advisor

Horton, Sean

Keywords

Adults, Aging, Canada, Health, Senior, Successful

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Defining successful aging (SA) has been a topic of debate amongst researchers since Rowe and Kahn introduced the topic of “usual” versus “successful” aging in the late 1980s. Researchers have criticized their biomedical model of successful aging, which has been used as an unofficial gold standard in determining whether one has aged usually or successfully. This perspective focuses on having high physical and mental functional capacities, being void of disease or disease-related disability, and having an active engagement with life, and is considered too narrow in its focus and lacking subjective interpretations of aging. Using the 2011-2012 version of the Canadian Community Health Survey with Canadian adults aged 60 years and older (N = 15,846), 15.9% of respondents were aging successfully, 81% were aging moderately successfully, and 3.1% were aging unsuccessfully with the biomedical model based on Rowe and Kahn’s (1987; 1997; 1998) three postulates of aging success. Using the psychosocial criteria based on a review of SA literature, 18.3% of respondents were aging successfully, 66.1% were aging moderately successfully, and 15.6% were aging unsuccessfully. Using the integrative criteria, which combined both the biomedical and psychosocial perspectives, 28.9% of respondents were aging successfully, 55.5% were aging moderately successfully, and 15.6% were aging unsuccessfully. Results from the integrated model are depicted on a continuum that illustrates the difference in aging success based on a combination of predictors unique to each perspective of SA. This model has the potential to demonstrate that those individuals who may not be aging successfully in biomedical terms (attainment), may otherwise be aging successfully in psychosocial terms (adaptation).

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