Comparisons of the utility of researcher-defined and participant-defined successful ageing

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To investigate the impact of different approaches for measuring ‘successful ageing’, four alternative researcher and participant definitions were compared, including a novel measure informed by cluster analysis. Rates of successful ageing were explored, as were their relative associations with age and measures of successful adaptation, to assess construct validity.


Participants, aged over 65, were recruited from community-based organisations. Questionnaires (assessing successful ageing, lifestyle activities and selective optimisation with compensation) were completed by 317 individuals.


Successful ageing ranged from 11.4% to 87.4%, with higher rates evident from participant definitions. Though dependent upon the definition, successful agers were typically younger, reported greater engagement with lifestyle activities and more frequent optimisation.


While the current study suggested an improved classification algorithm using a common research definition, future research should explore how subjective and objective aspects of successful ageing may be combined to derive a measure relevant to policy and practice.

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