Ageing and Society

A culturally-relevant theoretical framework for the study of successful ageing

a1 Department of Sociology, Uppsala University


In spite of the many studies conducted over the past decades, the field of inquiry known as cross-cultural gerontology remains atheoretical. This is because of its shortcomings in generating culturally-relevant theoretical frameworks of its own. In this article, I address this failure and adapt Kluckhohn's model of value orientations for use in the study of ageing-related concepts. I discuss possible applications of the adapted model and, in particular, its application to one of the most frequently debated concepts in gerontology, successful ageing. In the light of this discussion, I conclude that the culturally-relevant theoretical framework hereby proposed could lead to the rectification of the current atheoretical predicament of cross-cultural gerontology.

(Accepted March 18 1998)

Key Words: successful ageing; culture; value orientations; cross-cultural gerontology; theoretical framework.

c1 Address for correspondence: Department of Sociology, Uppsala University, Box 821, 751 08 Uppsala, Sweden. email: