EDUCATIONAL GERONTOLOGY, vol.41, no.11, pp.800-813, 2015 (SSCI)
Successful aging (SA) has been conceptualized in a number of ways. Despite increasing research into how laypersons define SA, few studies capturing lay perspectives of SA in younger cohorts and in non-English speaking countries have been undertaken. The current study examines cross-cultural perspectives of SA in young (aged 18-35), lay adults from a variety of continental European countries and Turkey. Participants were recruited via snowball sampling from social network sites and invited to participate in an online survey. Persons between 18-35 years from Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Netherlands, Romania, Switzerland, or Turkey were included. Respondents (total: 390; Belgian: 32; Estonian: 96; German: 76; Romanian: 47; Swiss: 39; Dutch: 30; Turkish: 70), were primarily women (56.4%) and students (66.2%), with an average age of 24.1 years (SD 3.7). Personal resources, social and active engagement all emerged as dominant themes across countries, but were articulated in subtly different ways in the participant countries. Positive perspectives, desirable attributes and satisfaction themes were intertwined within themes of acceptance and engagement. The current study provides a first step in the inclusion of geographic and cultural diversity into the SA literature. These results suggest that layperson conceptualizations of SA have broad-sweeping similarities, but further research is required to articulate the nuance of cultural influences on SA.