Conducting Research on Home Environments: Lessons Learned and New Directions

Laura N. Gitlin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

220 Scopus citations


The study of home environments is a research domain within the field of environmental gerontology that addresses issues related to aging in place. Despite the importance of aging at home, there are few recent studies in this area and most are descriptive and lack theoretical direction. This article examines the current state of research on home environments from which methodological challenges and new directions for future research are identified. Three broad research queries are posed: What should we measure and why in home environments? How do older people and their family members use the home environment in health, illness, and caregiving? What are the interrelationships between the home environment, psychological well-being, and daily functioning throughout the aging process? Suggestions for future research on home environments are discussed and the implications for advancing environmental gerontology highlighted. Specifically, the home environment offers a testing ground for generic environmental constructs and their measurement as well as a unique setting from which new understandings and constructs of person-environment fit can emerge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)628-637
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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