Abstract and Keywords
Chronological age (time since birth) is the most frequently used operationalization of the effects of aging. However, researchers in various disciplines have expressed dissatisfaction with the chronological age’s inherent atheoretical nature. Chronological age is essentially a measurement of time, not a reflection of age-related changes and development. This chapter will identify what conceptual weaknesses of chronological age can limit the value of empirical and theoretical work and provide possible alternatives. Concepts from sociology, gerontology, marketing, anthropology, and developmental psychology are used to identify possible alternatives to chronological age. Functional, subjective, cognitive, and contextual age are presented and explained and an overarching taxonomy is presented that compares these age concepts. Special focus is on the contribution of adult developmental psychology as a basis for theory building.
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