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date: 22 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines early conceptual formulations of adult development in the U.S. and contrasts them with notably different conceptions of aging in Japan. Empirical research in both cultural contexts points to evidence of psychological change in personality traits, well-being, affect with aging in the U.S., whereas Japanese studies have linked the well-being of older persons to life roles and activities as well as examined the concept of ikigai (what makes life worthy). Gender differences are an emerging part of the story, especially in Japan. The authors delineate multiple avenues for future research to broaden the scope of scientific inquiries on adult development and aging in Japan as well as promote greater exchange between cultural psychologists and adult developmentalists. More work is also called for to link adult developmental changes to health and to examine historical changes in experiences of aging.

Keywords: adult development, successful aging, roleless role, filial piety, ikigai, personality, well-being, affect, health, history

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