Agency and Motivation in Adulthood and Old Age

Posted: 18 Jan 2019

See all articles by Jutta Heckhausen

Jutta Heckhausen

University of California, Irvine

Carsten Wrosch

Concordia University, Quebec - Department of Psychology

Richard Schulz

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Psychology

Date Written: January 2019

Abstract

This review addresses conceptual and empirical research about how individual agency and motivation influences development during adulthood and old age. The major life-span approaches to individual agency and developmental regulation are discussed, with a focus on the motivational theory of life-span development. Developmental agency unfolds through action cycles of pursuing long-term goals for optimal development. Individuals differ in their capacity to regulate their goal engagements effectively within the age-graded structure of opportunities and constraints in their life courses. We discuss a set of research examples about specific developmental challenges, such as transition to adulthood, biological aging, illness, and societal transformation, and show how individuals, as agents in their own development, navigate change for better or worse. We conclude with suggestions for future research.

Suggested Citation

Heckhausen, Jutta and Wrosch, Carsten and Schulz, Richard, Agency and Motivation in Adulthood and Old Age (January 2019). Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 70, pp. 191-217, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3318203 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-010418-103043

Jutta Heckhausen (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 62697-3125
United States

Carsten Wrosch

Concordia University, Quebec - Department of Psychology

1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
Montreal, Quebec H3G 1M8
Canada

Richard Schulz

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Psychology ( email )

United States

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