Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Positive Ageing: to What Extent can Current Models of Wellbeing Categorise the Life Events Perceived as Positive by Older Adults?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Alison Killen



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Life expectancy is increasing globally, which makes understanding what contributes to well-being in older adults crucial for social and economic reasons. This is the first study to categorize positive life events in community dwelling older adults, to explore their fit with psychological well-being models. Volunteers self-defined as well (N = 88), completed diaries identifying three positive events daily for 14 days. Diary entries combated negative stereotypes of ageing by describing older adults with active lives contributing to society. Of nine themes identified through thematic analysis of over 3500 events; seven supported existing well-being models, being activities delivering positive affect and life satisfaction (hedonic model) and demonstrating competence, autonomy, relatedness, self-acceptance, purpose in life, and personal growth (eudemonic models). However, two well-supported new dimensions were also identified within the themes ‘interaction with the physical environment’ and ‘personal well-being’. These new dimensions were labelled ‘life-affirmation and ‘mindfulness’. This suggests the existence of additional considerations related to well-being specifically for older populations, which may indicate a need to broaden the existing models.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Killen A, Macaskill A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology

Year: 2020

Volume: 5

Pages: 99-119

Online publication date: 13/02/2020

Acceptance date: 29/01/2020

Date deposited: 25/02/2020

ISSN (print): 2364-5040

ISSN (electronic): 2364-5059

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s41042-020-00028-6


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric