Successful aging in the United States: prevalence estimates from a national sample of older adults.

TitleSuccessful aging in the United States: prevalence estimates from a national sample of older adults.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsMcLaughlin, SJ, Connell, CM, Heeringa, SG, Li, LW, J Roberts, S
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology, Series B
ISSN Number1758-5368
KeywordsAffect, Aged, Aging, Female, Health Status, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Prevalence, United States

OBJECTIVES: To estimate the prevalence of successful aging in the United States, with the broad aim of contributing to the dialogue on Rowe and Kahn's concept of successful aging.

METHODS: Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, the prevalence of successful aging was calculated for adults aged 65 years and older at four time points: 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2004. Successful aging was operationalized in accordance with Rowe and Kahn's definition, which encompasses disease and disability, cognitive and physical functioning, social connections, and productive activities.

RESULTS: No greater than 11.9% of older adults were aging "successfully" in any year. The adjusted odds of successful aging were generally lower for those of advanced age, male gender, and lower socioeconomic status. Between 1998 and 2004, the odds of successful aging declined by 25%, after accounting for demographic changes in the older population.

DISCUSSION: Few older adults meet the criteria put forth in Rowe and Kahn's definition of successful aging, suggesting the need for modification if the concept is to be used for broad public health purposes. Disparities in successful aging were evident for socially defined subgroups, highlighting the importance of structural factors in enabling successful aging.

Endnote Keywords

Quality of Life/Aging/Public Health/Health Services/Socioeconomic Levels/United States/SF 36 Health Survey/Older Adults/Data Collection/ROWE, John W./KAHN, Robert L./Health disparities/Healthy aging/Prevalence/Successful aging

Endnote ID


Citation Key7456
PubMed ID20008481
PubMed Central IDPMC2981444
Grant ListU01 AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
U01AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States