Abstract In this chapter we present the case that growth is a central concern in older adults' self-identity, facilitating dispositional well-being and resilience in older adulthood. Contrary to the view that “growth is for the young and loss is for the old,” research on personal goals and memories demonstrates that older adults are at least as concerned with gain and growth as they are with loss. As for personal memories, we turn to quantitative research on narrative self-identity. Growth-oriented narratives are common in older adulthood. They predict well-being, differentiate hedonic from eudaimonic well-being, and differentiate two forms of eudaimonic well-being. Finally, we present a framework for studying resilience: hedonic resilience involves affect regulation in the wake of loss or potential trauma, whereas eudaimonic resilience includes affect regulation but additionally considers meaning regulation. Introduction Psychological resilience in old age, like in any period of adulthood, is intimately tied to self-identity. Some forms of self-identity are more likely than others to facilitate resilience across the lifespan (Greve and Staudinger,2006). For example, growth-oriented identities are more likely than others to precede increases in meaning-making and adaptation (e.g., Adler, 2009; Bauer and McAdams, in press; King and Smith, 2004; Pals, 2006b). In this chapter we argue that a growth orientation in one's self-identity serves as a central feature of the aging self and in doing so facilitates resilience. We make three claims about resilience and the aging self. First, growth is a normative, often central concern in older adults' personal goals.
|Title of host publication||New Frontiers in Resilient Aging|
|Subtitle of host publication||Life-Strengths and Well-Being in Late Life|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Number of pages||30|
|Publication status||Published - 2010 Jan 1|
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