Change in productive activity in late adulthood: Macarthur studies of successful aging

Thomas A. Glass, Teresa E. Seeman, A. Regula Herzog, Robert Kahn, Lisa F. Berkman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Both cross-sectional comparisons and patterns of change in productive activities among members of the MacArthur Successful Aging cohort were examined. The data came from a three-site longitudinal study of community-dwelling adults aged 70–79. The highest functioning cohort (n = 1,192) was found to be significantly more productive than a comparison group of medium- and low-functioning respondents at baseline in four of five domains examined. In longitudinal models, we tested several hypotheses regarding the determinants of change in levels of productive activity over a three-year period. Overall, 15.1 percent (n = 162) of the cohort became less productive, while another 12.7 percent (n = 136) became more productive. Risk factors for decline in productivity included hospital admission and stroke. Age, functional disability, marriage, and increased mastery were protective against declines. Conversely, Blacks, those who were more satisfied with life at baseline, and those reporting increased mastery were more likely to increase their productivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S65-S76
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume50 B
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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