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Transcendence in successful aging: A grounded theory of older women's strategies to age successfully

Kristal Imperio, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Abstract

Women have a longer life expectancy than men, yet there have been few studies exploring the multifaceted dimensions of successful aging among community-dwelling older women. In the present study, grounded theory methods were used to discover their subjective meaning of successful aging and the strategies older women use to age successfully. Participants included seventeen women between the ages of 73 and 104 residing independently in New England who described themselves as aging successfully. Data sources included tape-recorded interviews, telephone follow up calls, participant journals, and field notes. Using constant comparative data analysis, the basic social process of Transcendence in Successful Aging was discovered. ^ The participants described experiencing individual causal conditions and characteristics that informed their selection of one of three paths of Transcendence in Successful Aging; sedulous transcendence, spiritual transcendence or sanguine transcendence. The general strategies used by these women to manage age and health related change and age successfully included accepting by being positive, surveying the options and following the path; adjusting, by charting the options, and acting by preserving interest and continuing involvement. The participants described successful aging strategies specific to each type of transcendence. The outcome of Transcendence in Successful Aging was identified as personal satisfaction with life course. ^ Knowledge of the meaning and process of successful aging among community-dwelling older women is essential for understanding the strategies they use to manage age and health related change and age successfully. The results of this study have implications for education, practice and research. Insight into older women's personal meanings of successful aging and the strategies they use to age successfully will assist nurses and health care providers to support community-dwelling older women in the self-management of age and health related change while promoting their successful aging. ^

Subject Area

Gerontology|Women's studies|Nursing

Recommended Citation

Imperio, Kristal, "Transcendence in successful aging: A grounded theory of older women's strategies to age successfully" (2006). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3216953.
http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dissertations/AAI3216953

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