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Self and identity in advanced old age: validation of theory through longitudinal case analysis

Self and identity in advanced old age: validation of theory through longitudinal case analysis
Self and identity in advanced old age: validation of theory through longitudinal case analysis
Case studies drawn from a 20-year longitudinal study of aging were examined for the support they provide to two theoretical viewpoints on the self in later life: one focusing on management of self-esteem, the other on development of identity as story. The five cases selected for scrutiny represented diverse trajectories of self-esteem. They furnished ample illustrations of certain key aspects of both theories, including assimilative processes of coping, depression related to absence of accommodation, maintenance of life story themes, and life review processes. They did not, however, give strong support to the dichotomy, drawn within both theoretical models, between younger and older old age. Examples of accommodation, disengagement, and self-transcendence, hypothesized to typify advanced old age, were relatively few in number and emerged only toward the very end of life. It is argued that examination of prototypical cases provides a useful approach to validating and developing theory. A conclusion drawn from this study is that more analysis should be carried out on the lives of persons who exemplify the theoretically ideal characteristics of advanced old age.
0022-3506
819-849
Coleman, P.G.
1c55586e-c367-470c-b14b-832edb75c0ce
Ivani-Chalian, C.
460944e3-290f-4852-bf0a-647085f9cb98
Robinson, M.
17633612-7540-4a8d-8ce3-a25968457a89
Coleman, P.G.
1c55586e-c367-470c-b14b-832edb75c0ce
Ivani-Chalian, C.
460944e3-290f-4852-bf0a-647085f9cb98
Robinson, M.
17633612-7540-4a8d-8ce3-a25968457a89

Coleman, P.G., Ivani-Chalian, C. and Robinson, M. (1999) Self and identity in advanced old age: validation of theory through longitudinal case analysis. Journal of Personality, 67 (5), 819-849. (doi:10.1111/1467-6494.00074).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Case studies drawn from a 20-year longitudinal study of aging were examined for the support they provide to two theoretical viewpoints on the self in later life: one focusing on management of self-esteem, the other on development of identity as story. The five cases selected for scrutiny represented diverse trajectories of self-esteem. They furnished ample illustrations of certain key aspects of both theories, including assimilative processes of coping, depression related to absence of accommodation, maintenance of life story themes, and life review processes. They did not, however, give strong support to the dichotomy, drawn within both theoretical models, between younger and older old age. Examples of accommodation, disengagement, and self-transcendence, hypothesized to typify advanced old age, were relatively few in number and emerged only toward the very end of life. It is argued that examination of prototypical cases provides a useful approach to validating and developing theory. A conclusion drawn from this study is that more analysis should be carried out on the lives of persons who exemplify the theoretically ideal characteristics of advanced old age.

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Published date: 1999

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 18525
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/18525
ISSN: 0022-3506
PURE UUID: 9e41ab15-afd6-4d8d-8116-e513532b2ac9

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Date deposited: 09 Dec 2005
Last modified: 15 Jul 2019 19:28

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