Master of Arts (MA)
Faculty of Science
Research on well-being and aging has suggested the trajectory of well-being through adulthood is U-shaped, with the lowest point typically occurring in midlife (Stone, Schwartz, Broderick, & Deaton, 2010). Toward the end of life, well-being (and in particular, life satisfaction) may surpass earlier levels and individuals tend to engage in a life review process wherein they evaluate how their life has turned out. Those who are satisfied with how their life events fit together to form their life story have been shown to have achieved ego integrity (i.e., accepting of their life to date and the limited time they have left) and to be more accepting of impending death, whereas those who have not achieved ego integrity might be less satisfied with their lives (Erikson, 1963). This secondary data study used mixed methods (content analysis of written narratives and quantitative scales) to understand the influence of life events (valence and frequency) on changes in women’s later life satisfaction, and how this relationship is shaped by psychosocial development. Findings indicate that age-related life events do not hold a unique relationship with later life satisfaction above and beyond Erikson’s (1963) final psychosocial developmental stage. Achieving ego integrity helped soften the impact of negative life events on life satisfaction, likely due to the integrity-defining characteristic of being able to accept the negative pieces of one’s past. Ultimately, this study illuminated the way in which psychosocial developmental constructs can influence the relationship between negative life events and life satisfaction. Additionally, the ways in which older women thought about their lives, particularly during their 60s, were shaped by their engagement with close others. For these women, time spent with friends and family was perceived to be time well spent.
Hill, Taylor, "The role of life events in older women's psychosocial development and well-being" (2020). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 2292.