Definition of Activity Theory
(noun) Theory asserting that to feel satisfied and enjoy their lives, elderly individuals must stay engaged to maintain meaningful activities and replace roles or statuses lost due to age.
Example of Activity Theory
- 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.
Activity Theory Pronunciation
Syllabification: ac·tiv·i·ty the·o·ry
- American English – /ak-tIv-uh-tee thEE-uhr-ree/
- British English – /ak-tIv-i-tee thIUH-ree/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ækˈtɪvəti ˈθɪəri/
- British English – /ækˈtɪvɪti ˈθɪəri/
- Plural: activity theories
- 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 called:
- active aging
- activity theory of aging
- implicit theory of aging
- normal theory of aging
- lay theory of aging
- Aging and Social Gerontology Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “activity” and “theory” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Havighurst, Robert J., and Bernice L. Neugarten. 1967. Society and Education. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
- Lemon, B. W., V. L. Bengtson, and J. A. 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. doi:10.1093/geronj/27.4.511.
- Neugarten, Bernice L. 1964. Personality in Middle and Late Life: Empirical Studies. New York: Atherton Press.
- Neugarten, Bernice L. 1968. Middle Age and Aging: A Reader in Social Psychology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Quadagno, Jill S. 2017. Aging and the Life Course: An Introduction to Social Gerontology. 7th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- continuity theory
- disengagement theory
- life course
- social gerontology
Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.
Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Kendall, Diana. 2011. Sociology in Our Times. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
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Ravelli, Bruce, and Michelle Webber. 2016. Exploring Sociology: A Canadian Perspective. 3rd ed. Toronto: Pearson.
Thompson, William E., and Joseph V. Hickey. 2012. Society in Focus: An Introduction to Sociology. 7th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Tischler, Henry L. 2011. Introduction to Sociology. 10th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Cite the Definition of Activity Theory
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “activity theory.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 5, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/activity-theory/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
activity theory. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/activity-theory/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “activity theory.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 5, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/activity-theory/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“activity theory.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 5 Jun. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/activity-theory/>.