Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging

Living Edition
| Editors: Danan Gu, Matthew E. Dupre

Activity Theory

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69892-2_748-1



The Activity Theory is a psychosocial theory of aging that attempts to describe the individual and social life conditions that promote a maximum of satisfaction and happiness while the individuals adapt to the multiple challenges of aging. According to this theory, a positive aging implies preserving, for as much as possible, the activities and attitudes of middle age (Havighurst 1961). It claims that older adults are more likely to age successfully when they remain active, i.e., when they maintain social interactions and embrace productive roles in society (e.g., volunteering, participating in social groups or activities) while simultaneously substituting the roles lost as they became old.


Development of the Theory

Originally proposed by Robert J. Havighurst and his colleagues in the 1950s and 1960s at the...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Health Technology and Services Research (CINTESIS)Porto/AveiroPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Behavioral SciencesInstitute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar, University of Porto (ICBAS-UP)PortoPortugal
  3. 3.Department of Education and PsychologyUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal

Section editors and affiliations

  • Karen Siu Lan Cheung
    • 1
  1. 1.Sau Po Centre on AgeingThe University of Hong KongHong Kong SARChina