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Work, Aging and Retirement, 2021

DOI: 10.1093/workar/waaa029



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Does a Growth Mindset Enable Successful Aging?

Journal article published in 2021 by Peter A. Heslin ORCID, Jeni L. Burnette, Nam Gyu Ryu
Distributing this paper is prohibited by the publisher
Distributing this paper is prohibited by the publisher

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Abstract Successful aging broadly refers to the development and maintenance of favorable life outcomes with increasing age. We propose that the likelihood of people aging successfully is enhanced by routinely engaging in habitually repeated, enjoyable actions (henceforth, “rituals”) that cultivate their personal resources in the physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual domains. We suggest that fixed mindsets will impede the discovery and adoption of such rituals, whereas growth mindsets will facilitate people exploring, trialing, and perpetually enacting rituals that help them age successfully. After defining successful aging, we explain the nature of mindsets and discuss their role in systematically cultivating relevant physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual resources. Practical examples of personal resource-building rituals are provided throughout. We outline several avenues for future research to test hypotheses derived from the propositions we have advanced and illustrate how mindsets might be deliberately fostered to support successful aging. We also suggest potential boundary conditions on the utility of growth mindsets.