The Older They Are, the Less Successful They Become? Findings from the Georgia Centenarian Study

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Cho, Jinmyoung
Poon, Leonard
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Martin, Peter
University Professor
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Human Development and Family Studies

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies focuses on the interactions among individuals, families, and their resources and environments throughout their lifespans. It consists of three majors: Child, Adult, and Family Services (preparing students to work for agencies serving children, youth, adults, and families); Family Finance, Housing, and Policy (preparing students for work as financial counselors, insurance agents, loan-officers, lobbyists, policy experts, etc); and Early Childhood Education (preparing students to teach and work with young children and their families).


The Department of Human Development and Family Studies was formed in 1991 from the merger of the Department of Family Environment and the Department of Child Development.

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  • College of Human Sciences (parent college)
  • Department of Child Development (predecessor)
  • Department of Family Environment (predecessor)

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This study examined whether oldest-old adults are successful agers. Three hundred and six octogenarians and centenarians of Phase III of the Georgia Centenarian Study participated in this study. A first model examined Rowe and Kahn’s successful aging model (Rowe and Khan (1997 and 1998)) including the probability of disease, physical or cognitive capacity, and engagement with life. All three components were applied to assess how many oldest-old adults satisfied all three criteria. The result showed about 15% of octogenarians (15.1%), and none of centenarians satisfied all three components of successful aging. Consequently, a second alternative model focused on psychosocial aspects including three different components: subjective health, perceived economic status, and happiness. Different from Rowe and Kahn’s successful aging model, a total of 62.3% of octogenarians and 47.5% of centenarians satisfied all three components of the alternative model of successful aging. The results suggest that additional criteria of successful aging should be considered thereby expanding the concepts and multidimensional aspects of successful aging among oldest-old adults.


This article is published as Cho, Jinmyoung, Peter Martin, and Leonard W. Poon. "The older they are, the less successful they become? Findings from the Georgia Centenarian Study." Journal of Aging Research 2012 (2012). doi: 10.1155/2012/695854. Posted with permission.

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Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2012