Comparison of the Rowe–Kahn model of successful aging with self-rated health and life satisfaction: the West of Scotland Twenty-07 prospective cohort study

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

December 15, 2016


Purpose of the Study: With increasing longevity in industrialized populations, there is growing interest in what defines “successful aging” (SA). Various SA measures have been proposed but no consensus has been reached and many have been criticized for not representing the views and priorities of older people. We consider whether the Rowe–Kahn SA model captures older individual’s perceptions of their own health and aging. Methods: Using two cohorts of 886 and 483 men and women from the West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study, aged around 57 and 76, respectively, we explored associations between Rowe–Kahn SA dimensions (absence of disease/disability; good physical/cognitive functioning; good interpersonal/productive social engagement) and four aspects of self-rated health and satisfaction (current general health; health for age; satisfaction with health; satisfaction with life). Results: Respondents’ self-rated health and satisfaction was generally good but few had all six Rowe–Kahn dimensions positive, the conventional definition of SA. All individual positive SA dimensions were associated with better self-rated health and satisfaction. This was consistent across age, gender, manual/nonmanual occupations, and personality. The prevalence of good self-rated health and satisfaction increased with increasing numbers of positive SA dimensions. Implications: The Rowe–Kahn model provides a functional definition of SA. Future work on ageing should include all Rowe–Kahn dimensions and consider SA as a continuum.

Published in

The Gerontologist

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 56 , p.1 -1






Open Access

© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



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