Wednesday, March 14, 2018


secular and individualistic features of modern societies, may delay development towards gerotranscendence.

whether individuals practice their ` religion ' in a spiritual, nonorganisational way, or in an organisational way, may play a role for development towards gerotranscendence

@Lewin, F. A. (2001). Gerotranscendence and different cultural settings. Ageing and Society, 21(4), 395-415

He describes the dimensions or signs of gerotranscendence as ontological changes on three levels : the cosmic level, the self level, and the social and individual relations level (Tornstam 1996: 42-3). These levels are explained as follows :

The cosmic level

  • Time and space. Changes in the definitions of time and space develop. For example the transcendence of borders between past and present occurs.
  • Connection to earlier generations. Increasing attachment. A change from link to chain perspective ensues.
  • Life and death. The fear of death disappears and a new comprehension of life and death results.
  • Mystery in life. The mystery dimension in life is accepted.
  • Rejoicing. From grand events to subtle experiences, the joy of experiencing macrocosmos in microcosmos materializes.

The self

  • Self confrontation. The discovery of hidden aspects of the self - both good and bad - occurs.
  • Decrease of self-centredness. The self is removed from the centre of one's universe.
  • Development of body-transcendence. The care of body continues, but the individual is not obsessed with it.
  • Self-transcendence. A shift occurs from egoism to altruism.
  • Rediscovery of the child within. The individual experiences return to and transfiguration of childhood.
  • Ego-integrity. The individual realizes that the pieces of life's jigsaw puzzle form a wholeness.

Social and individual relations

  • Changed meaning and importance of relations. One becomes more selective and less interested in superficial relations, exhibiting an increasing need for solitude.
  • Role play. An understanding of the difference between self and role takes place, sometimes with an urge to abandon roles. A new comforting understanding of the necessity of roles in life often results.
  • Emancipated innocence. Innocence enhances maturity.
  • Modern asceticism. An understanding of the petrifying gravity of wealth and the freedom of `asceticism ' develops.
  • Everyday wisdom. The difficulty in separating right from wrong and withholding from judgements and giving advice is discerned. Transcendence of the rightwrong duality ensues.

@Tornstam, L. 1996. Gerotranscendence ± a theory about maturing into old age. Journal
of Aging and Identity, 1, 37-50.

Gerotranscendence: A Developmental Theory of Positive Aging
by Lars Tornstam PhD

Bengtson, V. (1973). The Social Psychology of Aging. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill.

Chinen, A. B. (1985). Fairy Tales and Transpersonal Development in Later Life. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 17, 99–122.

—. (1986). Elder Tales Revisited: Forms of Transcendence in Later Life. The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 26, 171–192.

—. (1989a). From Quantitative to Qualitative Reasoning: A Developmental Perspective. In E. E. Thomas, Research on Adulthood and Aging: The Human Science Approach. State University of New York Press.

—. (1989b). In the Ever After: Fairy Tales and the Second Half of Life. Wilmette, Illinois: Chiron Publications.

Cumming, E. (1963). Further Thoughts on the Theory of Disengagement. UNESCO International Social Science Journal, 377–393.

Cumming, E., et al. (1960). Disengagement—A Tentative Theory of Aging. Sociometry, 23, 23–35.

Cumming, E., & Henry, W. E. (1961). Growing Old: The Processes of Disengagement. New York: Basic Books.

Erikson, E. H., Erikson, J. M., & Kivnick, H. Q. (1986). Vital Involvment in Old Age. New York: Norton.

Hooyman, N. R., & Asuman Kiyak, H. (1988). Social Gerontology: A Multidisciplinary Perspective. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Peck, R. (1956). Psychological Development in Second Half of Life. In J. E. Anderson (Ed.), Psychological Aspects of Aging. Washington: American Psych. Assoc.

Tornstam, L. (1989). Gerotranscendence; A Meta-theoretical Reformulation of the Disengagement Theory. Aging: Clinical and Experimental Research, 1.1, 55–63.

—. (1994). Gerotranscendence—A Theoretical and Empirical Exploration. In L. E. Thomas & S. A. Eisenhandler (Eds.), Aging and the Religious Dimension. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group.

—. (1996a). Gerotranscendence—A Theory About Maturing into Old Age. Journal of Aging and Identity, 1.1, 37–50.

—. (1996b). Caring for the Elderly Introducing the Theory of Gerotranscendence as a Supplementary Frame of Reference for Caring for the Elderly. Scand J Caring Sci, 10, 144–150.

—. (1997a). Gerotranscendence: The Contemplative Dimension of Aging. Journal of Aging Studies, 11.2, 143–154.

—. (1997b). Gerotranscendence in a Broad Cross Sectional Perspective, Journal of Aging and Identity, 2.1, 17–36.

—. (1997c). Life Crises and Gerotranscendence, Journal of Aging and Identity, 2, 117–131.

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