Journal of Aging Studies (J AGING STUD )

Publisher: Elsevier


The journal's aim is to feature scholarly papers offering new interpretations that challenge existing theory and empirical work. Papers need not deal with the field of aging in general, but with any defensibly relevant topic pertinent to the aging experience and related to the broad concerns and subject matter of the social and behavioral sciences and the humanities. The Journal of Aging Studies highlights innovation and critique, new directions in general, regardless of theoretical or methodological orientation. Theoretical, critical, and empirical submissions are welcome.

  • Impact factor
  • 5-year impact
  • Cited half-life
  • Immediacy index
  • Eigenfactor
  • Article influence
  • Website
    Journal of Aging Studies website
  • Other titles
    Journal of aging studies, Aging studies
  • ISSN
  • OCLC
  • Material type
    Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Journal / Magazine / Newspaper, Internet Resource

Publisher details


  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author can archive a post-print version
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    • Voluntary deposit by author of pre-print allowed on Institutions open scholarly website and pre-print servers
    • Voluntary deposit by author of authors post-print allowed on institutions open scholarly website including Institutional Repository
    • Deposit due to Funding Body, Institutional and Governmental mandate only allowed where separate agreement between repository and publisher exists
    • Set statement to accompany deposit
    • Published source must be acknowledged
    • Must link to journal home page or articles' DOI
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • Articles in some journals can be made Open Access on payment of additional charge
    • NIH Authors articles will be submitted to PMC after 12 months
    • Authors who are required to deposit in subject repositories may also use Sponsorship Option
    • Pre-print can not be deposited for The Lancet
  • Classification
    ​ green

Publications in this journal

  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The decision to relocate in old age is intricately linked to thoughts and desires to stay put. However, most research focuses either on strategies that allow people to age in place or on their reasons for relocation. There is a need for more knowledge on very old peoples' residential reasoning, including thoughts about aging in place and thoughts about relocation as one intertwined process evolving in everyday life. The aim of this study was to explore what we refer to as the process of residential reasoning and how it changes over time among very old people, and to contribute to the theoretical development regarding aging in place and relocation. Taking a longitudinal perspective, data stem from the ENABLE-AGE In-depth Study, with interviews conducted in 2003 followed up in interviews in 2011. The 16 participants of the present study were 80–89 years at the time of the first interview. During analysis the Theoretical Model of Residential Normalcy by Golant and the Life Course Model of Environmental Experience by Rowles & Watkins were used as sensitizing concepts. The findings revealed changes in the process of residential reasoning that related to a wide variety of issues. Such issues included the way very old people use their environmental experience, their striving to build upon or dismiss attachment to place, and their attempts to maintain or regain residential normalcy during years of declining health and loss of independence. In addition, the changes in reasoning were related to end-of-life issues. The findings contribute to the theoretical discussion on aging in place, relocation as a coping strategy, and reattachment after moving in very old age.
    Journal of Aging Studies 01/2014; 29:9-19.
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    ABSTRACT: This article approaches Judi Dench's role as M in the long-running James Bond series from a gender and ageing studies' perspective and explores this character's subversion of normative concepts of gender and temporality. Based on the assumption that cultural narratives shape our understanding of ageing, it examines how M disrupts prescribed age- and gender roles, presenting an alternative within films which otherwise perpetuate normative notions of a sexualised, youthful femininity. It focusses on Dench's return as M in Casino Royale (2006), as an instance of anachronism (Russo, 1999), subverting viewers' expectation of linear timelines and examines M's challenge of normative age-appropriateness in Skyfall (2012). Despite M's portrayal as a more vulnerable female character in the latter, this article presents her character as an alternative to traditional portrayals of older women on screen.
    Journal of Aging Studies 01/2014; 29:32–40.
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    ABSTRACT: The study aims to examine how grandchildren perceive their grandparents who suffer from dementia. Grandchildren living in Barcelona, Spain, participated in the study (n = 145). The data, based on qualitative information extracted from three incomplete questions (referring to the grandparent's best and worst qualities, and to the best memory that the participant has of this grandparent), showed that grandchildren mentioned the same best and worst qualities of the grandparent as those reported in other normative studies. Nevertheless, dementia had a strong influence on the responses regarding the grandparent's worst qualities, which reflected characteristics of the disease rather than personal characteristics. Regarding the best memories, participants remembered their grandparent's roles as funseekers and caregivers in the past, emphasizing the importance of this older person during their childhood. In the discussion, we stress the importance of the figure of the grandchild in intervention plans for dementia and the role that grandchildren can play in maintaining the identity of the person with dementia.
    Journal of Aging Studies 01/2014; 29:1–8.
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    ABSTRACT: Images of women's sexuality beyond the age of forty are lacking in popular culture. Recently, however, the term cougar has been embraced by American media as a label describing “older” women who assertively pursue younger sexual partners. This term and women's opinions of it can be viewed as exemplary of two competing ideologies about aging and sexuality. These are: 1) recognition of older women's sexual desire, consistent with new trends that promote lifelong sexual health and sexual activity; or, 2) linking aging and asexuality, when the term cougar is used as a pejorative that reinforces age and gender stereotypes. Based on in-depth interviews with a diverse sample of 84 women in their 20s–60s, we explore reactions to this term and its implications for women's aging and sexuality. We find that the majority of women viewed the label cougar negatively, or had mixed feelings about what it suggests regarding older women's sexuality, particularly as it marked women as predators or aggressors. Some women, however, embraced the term or its meaning, as indicative of the reality of older women's sexuality and continued sexual desire.
    Journal of Aging Studies 01/2014; 28:35–43.
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    ABSTRACT: Well-known trust-building methods are routinely used to recruit and retain older African Americans into scientific research studies, yet the quandary over how to overcome this group's hesitance to participate in research remains. We present two innovative and testable methods for resolving the dilemma around increasing older African Americans' participation in scientific research studies. Certain specific and meaningful experiential similarities between the primary researcher and the participants, as well as clear recognition of the elders' worth and dignity, improved older African Americans' willingness to adhere to a rigorous research design. Steps taken in an intervention study produced a potentially replicable strategy for achieving strong results in recruitment, retention and engagement of this population over three waves of assessment. Sixty-two (n = 62) older African Americans were randomized to treatment and control conditions of a reminiscence intervention. Sensitivity to an African American cultural form of respect for elders (recognition of worth and dignity), and intersections between the lived experience of the researcher and participants helped dispel this population's well-documented distrust of scientific research. Results suggest that intentional efforts to honor the worth and dignity of elders through high level hospitality and highlighting meaningful experiential similarities between the researcher and the participants can improve recruitment and retention results. Experiential similarities, in particular, may prove more useful to recruitment and retention than structural similarities such as age, race, or gender, which may not in themselves result in the trust experiential similarities elicit.
    Journal of Aging Studies 01/2014; 29:142–149.
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    ABSTRACT: Researchers and clinicians have traditionally explored widowhood as an intrapersonal process. We expand the paradigm of bereavement research to explore the widow's perceptions of her experience within a family context. In a study of family bereavement, 24 widows each participated in 2 separate qualitative interviews, followed by standard qualitative analyses of the transcribed narratives. Three inter-related central topics emerged. (1) Widows stress the importance of their independence vis a vis their family as central to their sense of identity. (2) Widows perceive that they and their adult children avoid expressing their feelings of sadness and loss with each other. (3) Widows believe that their children are unable to understand the meaning of the widows' loss because of differences in generations and life situations. Two inter-woven underlying themes emerged: protection of self and of other, and boundaries between widow and children. Just as protection is rooted in a dynamic of separation between widow and child, boundaries are rooted in their deep bond. When researchers and clinicians recognize the dynamics of these two themes they can potentially increase understanding of widowhood within the context of the family.
    Journal of Aging Studies 01/2014; 29:98–106.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper examines the life narratives of characters in Donna Leon's much-celebrated novel Death at La Fenice (1992). In the first of her Brunetti mystery series, Commissario Guido Brunetti investigates the death of the renowned conductor Helmut Wellauer, poisoned during a performance of La Traviata at La Fenice. As his investigation progresses, Brunetti discovers dark secrets in the past of the acclaimed Maestro, revealing his dishonesty and cruelty, but, most shockingly, his involvement in a horrendous case of child abuse and death by neglect. My analysis will address the role of memory and the significance of the past for the present, as the tragic experiences of the Santina sisters in the 1930s become intertwined with those of Wellauer's present wife Elizabeth and her daughter Alexandra. Using literary theory and cultural gerontology as methodological tools, this paper will explore Leon's portrait of the aging process: Wellauer's lack of remorse for his past sins and his inability to cope with impending deafness will be contrasted with the painful account by Wellauer's former lover, the once famous soprano Clemenza Santina, whose narrative response to her traumatic experience renders the past more alive than the present. The significance of memory, as well as the crucial role of life narratives in the personal and cultural construction of identity, will be addressed to interrogate the ways in which our perception of aging can be enriched by literary studies.
    Journal of Aging Studies 01/2014; 29:124–130.
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    ABSTRACT: This study used thematic narrative analysis to develop an understanding of how older adults with ongoing symptoms of schizophrenia who have experienced homelessness understand and express their life course and present-time narratives of homelessness, housing, and home. Findings were developed from 26 individual interviews with five study participants and 33 systematic field observations of their homes, treatment environments and neighborhoods. Presentation of the participants' narratives illuminates how participants experienced shared challenges in unique ways and the meaning they assigned to experiences of homelessness, housing and home, particularly in regard to identity and ongoing challenges. While all participants were housed, housing did not equate to a sense of being home. Implications for social work practice and policy, and directions for future research, are discussed.
    Journal of Aging Studies 01/2014; 29:53–65.
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined moral reasoning among ethnically and socioeconomically diverse older women based on the care and justice moral orientations reflecting theoretical frameworks developed by Carol Gilligan and Lawrence Kohlberg, respectively. A major gap in this area of research and theory development has been the lack of examination of moral reasoning in later life. This study addressed this gap by assessing socioeconomically and ethnically diverse older women's reasoning in response to ethical dilemmas showing conflict between autonomy, representative of Kohlberg's justice orientation, and protection, representative of Gilligan's care orientation. The dilemmas used in this study came from adult protective services (APS), the U.S. system that investigates and intervenes in cases of elder abuse and neglect. Subjects were 88 African American, Latina, and Caucasian women age 60 or over from varying socioeconomic status backgrounds who participated in eight focus groups. Overall, participants favored protection over autonomy in responding to the case scenarios. Their reasoning in responding to these dilemmas reflected an ethic of care and responsibility and a recognition of the limitations of autonomy. This reasoning is highly consistent with the care orientation. Variations in the overall ethic of care and responsibility based on ethnicity and SES also are discussed.
    Journal of Aging Studies 01/2014; 28:44–56.
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    ABSTRACT: This article focuses on the relevance that the dimension of the future has for promoting healthy and active aging. Older people generally have difficulties in talking about the future and when they do they generally express very negative perspectives on it. The data analyzed in this paper are part of an on-going interdisciplinary research project: “Aging, poverty and social exclusion: an interdisciplinary study on innovative support services” ( The project aims at documenting good practices in social intervention with older people who are at risk of exclusion. This study describes and critically discusses an activity carried out in Portugal among older women in a poor area in the suburb of Lisbon entitled “self-awareness workshop on the future”. Through a detailed discourse analysis within an ethnomethodological framework the study shows age membership categorizations in use and categorization processes, examining the workshop interaction. In particular, the article describes how the psychologist works at deconstructing and problematizing the negative connotations related to age membership categories. Taking into consideration the interactionally constructed nature of aging and the material consequences that different attitudes towards aging can imply is very important in particular in relation to the provision of services to older people.
    Journal of Aging Studies 01/2014; 29:131–141.
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    ABSTRACT: Fifty years ago, psychiatrist Robert Butler (1963) published an influential article on the recollection and evaluation of personal memories in later life. We discuss the major insights and applications in psychological gerontology that were inspired by Butler. Reminiscence and life review serve to create bonds between people, to cope with important life events, and to attribute meaning to life. We discuss a heuristic framework that relates reminiscence and life review to individual and contextual characteristics as well as to psychological resources and mental health and well-being. The increasing evidence is discussed that different types of interventions can effectively promote mental health and well-being in later life. We propose that processes of reminiscence and life review need further study. This can partly be achieved within the current research tradition by longitudinal studies and good trials that also address the processes accounting for effects of interventions. Synergy with psychological studies on autobiographical remembering and life stories will provide further innovation in the field, as these studies provide new methods and evidence of processes linked to the recollection and evaluation of personal memories.
    Journal of Aging Studies 01/2014; 29:107–114.
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    ABSTRACT: People with Alzheimer's disease (AD) are often negatively positioned by others, resulting in difficulties upholding a positive sense of self. This might cause them to withdraw socially and apparently ‘lose their minds’. Conversely, the sense of self can be strengthened with the support from others. This study aimed to describe, in accordance with positioning theory, how people with moderate AD positioned themselves and each other in a support group for people with AD. We describe five first-order positions; the project manager, the storyteller, the moral agent, the person burdened with AD, and the coping person. In the interactions that followed among the support group participants, those positions were mainly affirmed. This enabled participants to construct strong and agentic personae, and to have the severity of their illness acknowledged. Despite their language impairment participants managed to position and reposition themselves and others by assistance of the trained facilitator.
    Journal of Aging Studies 01/2014; 28:11–21.
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    ABSTRACT: The article analyses the role of handbags in the everyday lives of women with dementia. Drawing on findings from an ESRC funded UK study ‘Dementia and Dress’, it shows how handbags are significant to supporting the identities of women with dementia as ‘biographical’ and ‘memory’ objects, both in terms of the bags themselves, and the objects they contain. This is particularly so during the transition to care homes, where previous aspects of identity and social roles may be lost. Handbags are also significant to making personal or private space within care settings. However, dementia can heighten women's ambivalent relationship to their handbags, which can become a source of anxiety as ‘lost objects’, or may be viewed as problematic or ‘unruly’. Handbags may also be adapted or discarded due to changing bodies, lifestyles and the progression of dementia.
    Journal of Aging Studies 01/2014; 30:14–22.
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    ABSTRACT: Nowadays people are growing old in a context where youth culture is the norm and where self-initiative is required in order to prepare for a good old age. However, planning old age may be more difficult for certain social groups with insecure work and living conditions. Precariousness, defined as bad financial conditions but also as having an insecure, unpredictable existence, has been little studied in the context of aging. This study brings its contribution by exploring how middle-aged adults with different social security backgrounds (insurance versus no insurance) think about aging. Episodic interviews were conducted to explore their concepts of aging, contexts of thinking about aging and perceptions of aging. These were compared between groups who have a secure old age ahead of them (N = 10) versus those who have to struggle with an uncertain present and future (N = 10). Also, differences between men (N = 11) and women (N = 9) were addressed. Results of the thematic analysis showed the predominance of fears related to aging as well as an emerging meaninglessness attached to old age. Starting from the different images of aging found in the two studied groups, the need for tailored interventions and policy are discussed.
    Journal of Aging Studies 01/2014; 29:78–87.
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    ABSTRACT: Where people die has important implications for end-of-life (EOL) care. Assisted living (AL) increasingly is becoming a site of EOL care and a place where people die. AL residents are moving in older and sicker and with more complex care needs, yet AL remains largely a non-medical care setting that subscribes to a social rather than medical model of care. The aims of this paper are to add to the limited knowledge of how EOL is perceived, experienced, and managed in AL and to learn how individual, facility, and community factors influence these perceptions and experiences. Using qualitative methods and a grounded theory approach to study eight diverse AL settings, we present a preliminary model for how EOL care transitions are negotiated in AL that depicts the range of multilevel intersecting factors that shape EOL processes and events in AL. Facilities developed what we refer to as an EOL presence, which varied across and within settings depending on multiple influences, including, notably, the dying trajectories and care arrangements of residents at EOL, the prevalence of death and dying in a facility, and the attitudes and responses of individuals and facilities toward EOL processes and events, including how deaths were communicated and formally acknowledged and the impact of death and dying on the residents and staff. Our findings indicate that in the majority of cases, EOL care must be supported by collaborative arrangements of care partners and that hospice care is a critical component.
    Journal of Aging Studies 01/2014; 30:1–13.
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    ABSTRACT: Drawing from a collection of over 160 North American print advertisements for anti-aging skin care products from January to December of 2009, this paper examines the discourse of agelessness, a vision of esthetic perfection and optimal health that is continually referred to by gerontologists, cultural theorists, and scientific researchers as a state of being to which humankind can aspire. Employing critical discourse analysis through the use of semiotics and visual rhetoric, this paper explores the means through which anti-aging skin care advertisements present to their viewers a particular object of desire, looking, more specifically, at how agelessness is presented as a way out and ultimate transcendence of age. Through the analytical tools of semiotics and visual rhetoric, four visions of agelessness are identified and explored in this paper: Agelessness as Scientific Purity, Agelessness as Genetic Impulse, Agelessness as Nature's Essence, and Agelessness as Myth. Whether found in the heights of scientific purity, the inner core of our genetic impulse, the depths of nature's essence, or whether agelessness itself has reached its own, untouchable, mythic status, the advertisements in this study represent one of the most pervasive vehicles through which our current vision(s) of ageless perfection are reflected, reinforced, and suspended in a drop of cream.
    Journal of Aging Studies 01/2014; 29:20–31.
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    ABSTRACT: With demographic change becoming an ever more pressing issue in Germany, old age (80 +) is currently talked about above all in terms of being a problem. In mainstream discourse on the situation of the oldest old an interpretive framework has emerged that effectively rules out the possibility of people living positively and well in old age. With regard to both individual (personal) and collective (societal) spheres, negative images of old age dominate public debate. This is the starting point for an interdisciplinary research project designed to look at the ways in which people manage to “live well in old age in the face of vulnerability and finitude” — in express contrast to dominant negative perspectives. Based on the results of this project, the present article addresses an attitudinal and behavioral mode which we have coined “senior coolness”. Coolness here is understood as both a socio-cultural resource and an individualized habitus of everyday living. By providing an effective strategy of self-assertion, this ability can, as we show, be just as important for elderly people as for anyone else. “Senior coolness” is discussed, finally, as a phenomenon that testifies to the ways elderly people retain a positive outlook on life — especially in the face of difficult circumstances and powerful socio-cultural pressures.
    Journal of Aging Studies 01/2014; 28:22–34.

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