Activity Theory of Aging

4129 words 17 pages

Activity Theory of Aging
Long Island University-C.W. Post Campus
Jennifer L. Bifulco

Throughout this semester we have come across many psychological and social theories. From Vaillant’s aging well, to Erikson’s life stages, to Leont’ev’s activity theory, there is a lot to learn and to understand. For the purpose of this paper, I am going to focus on the Activity Theory of aging. After some thorough research on this topic I was able to come up with some great information about this theory that I will incorporate into this paper and make you understand the theory that way that I understand it. Activity Theory (AT) was initially developed by Leont’ev during the twentieth century in the former
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Within an activity system, all elements constantly interact with one another and are always in the process of working through changes. Research developed to test the AT has shown that most people do benefit from a high level of activity in age. For instance, The General Social Survey (an annual sampling of the American population designed by professors Jim Davis or Harvard University, and Tom Smith of the University of Chicago, and conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago), shows a much higher level of happiness among those who are most active at all stages in life. Research was also done and it was discovered that new activities are not necessarily substitutes for previous activities and that the quality of an activity is also important. People that engage in activities just for the sake of being “active,” can actually have negative effects from the activity. To be worthwhile, the activity must have a meaning to the participant. According to Lemon, Bengtson, and Peterson (1972), there are three activity types. These three activity types are informal, formal, and solitary. Informal activities are activities where you interact with friends and relatives. Formal activities are activities where a person participates in a voluntary organization. Solitary activities are activities that are just a pursuit of


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