Age differences and changes of coping behavior in three age groups: Findings from the Georgia Centenarian Study

Publication Date



With increasing age, older adults are more likely to be challenged by an increasing number of physical, functional and social losses. As a result, coping with losses becomes a central theme in very late life. This study investigated age differences and age changes in active behavioral, active cognitive and avoidance coping and related coping to adaptational outcomes, such as physical and mental health. Sixty-one sexagenarians, 46 octogenarians, and 47 centenarians from the Georgia Centenarian Study participated in this longitudinal study to assess coping with health and family events. The results indicated age group differences in active behavioral coping, suggesting that centenarians were less likely to use this mode of coping. Centenarians and octogenarians were also more likely to experience decreases in active behavioral coping over time, while sexagenarians were more likely to experience increases in this coping mode. No significant differences in coping with health versus family events were obtained suggesting that coping is consistent across life domains. Moderate levels of stability were obtained for coping in all age groups. Active behavioral and active cognitive coping predicted functional health, active behavioral coping predicted social relations, and avoidance coping predicted negative affect.

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

This document is currently not available here.