Ageing and Society

Research Article

Consistency in Adult Functioning: The Influence of Social Stress

David A. Chiribogaa1

a1 Associate Professor, Human Development and Aging Program, University of California, 745 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, California 94143.


Guided by three models of adult development, this paper both describes and predicts change in several dimensions of personal functioning, based on a study of 216 men and women who in 1969 were high school seniors, newlyweds, middle-aged parents, and pre-retirees. They were re-interviewed two, five, seven and eleven years later. From the descriptive phase of analysis a number of changes were found, especially among measures of specific emotional experiences, medical visits, and positive life events. The results also indicated that general statements about stability and change can be misleading.

In the predictive phase, hierarchical set multiple regression statistics demonstrated that two of the more commonly studied dependent variables, symptomatology and happiness, follow different pathways. Stressful life events proved to be strong predictors of both dependent variables for both men and women.


† This research was supported by Grant #MH33713, National Institute of Mental Health; #AG00002, National Institute on Aging (and formerly #HD03051 & HD 05941, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development).