Social Interrelations in Aging: The Sample Case of Married Couples

Christiane A. Hoppmann, Denis Gerstorf

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

27 Scopus citations


Development across the lifespan does not take place in isolation because in most endeavors social others are involved to some extent. The multitude of social factors that shape aging originate at different levels of abstraction, from the most immediate social interactions to broader social norms and expectations. Using the sample case of married couples, we review research on social interrelations in key domains of successful aging (well-being, physical health, and cognition) and use the collective model of selective optimization with compensation to discuss ways in which older spouses may optimize each other’s aging outcomes and compensate for individual resource losses. We further highlight several methodological challenges that complicate an integration of previous findings and use examples from the collaborative problem-solving literature to illustrate how these challenges may be overcome. We close by highlighting several avenues for future inquiry that promise to take this research to the next level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of the Psychology of Aging, Eighth Edition
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780124114692
ISBN (Print)9780124115231
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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