(noun) “Theory which suggests that for individuals to enjoy old age and feel satisfied, they must maintain activities and find a replacement for the statuses and associated roles they have left behind as they aged” (OpenStax College 2012).
Example: An individual who worked for 30 years as a medical doctor retires but starts to volunteer at a domestic violence shelter in a client support capacity.
Audio Pronunciation: (ac·tiv·i·ty the·o·ry)
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- Not to be confused with psychological theories and research of Alexei Leont’ev (1903–1979) and Sergei Rubinstein (1989–1960)
- Activity theory is compared and contrasted to disengagement theory and continuity theory as a functionalist theory of social gerontology.
- Also termed:
- implicit theory of aging
- normal theory of aging
- lay theory of aging
- Informally termed: active aging
- Havighurst, Robert J., and Bernice L. Neugarten. 1967. Society and Education. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
- Lemon BW, VL Bengtson, and JA Peterson. 1972. “An Exploration of the Activity Theory of Aging: Activity Types and Life Satisfaction Among In-movers to a Retirement Community.” Journal of Gerontology. 27 (4): 511-23.
- Neugarten, Bernice L. 1968. Middle Age and Aging: A Reader in Social Psychology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Neugarten, Bernice L. 1964. Personality in Middle and Late Life: Empirical Studies. New York: Atherton Press.
- Quadagno, Jill S. 2014. Aging and the Life Course: An Introduction to Social Gerontology. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- activity theory
- continuity theory
- disengagement theory
- social gerontology
OpenStax College. 2012. Theoretical Perspectives on Aging. Connexions, May 18, 2012. (http://cnx.org/content/m42973/1.3/).