Adaptation in Very Old Age: Exploring the Role of Resources, Beliefs, and Attitudes for Centenarians’ Happiness

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Happiness, resources, self-reverent beliefs, attitudes, centenarians


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


When individuals reach very old age, accumulating negative conditions represent a serious challenge to their capacity to adapt and are likely to reduce the quality of life. By examining happiness and its determinants in centenarians, this study investigated the proposal that psychological resilience may come to an end in extremely old age. Data from the population-based Heidelberg Centenarian Study indicated high levels of happiness. Basic resources (i.e., job training, cognition, health, social network, extraversion) explained a substantial proportion of variance in happiness, but some resource effects were mediated through self-referent beliefs (e.g., self-efficacy) and attitudes toward life (e.g., optimistic outlook). Results challenge the view that psychological resilience reaches a critical limit or that the self-regulatory adaptation system loses its efficiency in very advanced age.

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Peer Reviewed



APA Citation: Jopp, D. & Rott, C. (2006). Adaptation in very old age: Exploring the role of resources, beliefs, and attitudes for centenarians' happiness. Psychology and Aging, 21(2), 266-280.