|dc.description.abstract||Background: Studying the perspectives of middle-aged adults in relation to successful
ageing is essential because of significant concern about the growing size of the ‘young
old’ population in Malaysia. Growing evidence has highlighted the need to review
middle-aged adults’ preparedness for later life, yet research has only been focused on
the biographical experiences of ageing selves in older age. Early models of successful
ageing (SA) were developed five decades ago and concentrated strongly on diseases
and disabilities. Subsequent developments included the importance of psychological,
functional, environmental and spiritual elements. However, little attention has been
paid to the lay perspective of ageing successfully among middle-aged adults and
Aim and Objectives: This study explores the concept of ‘ageing successfully’ from
the perspective of people in middle age, in order to understand the richness and
complexity of people’s ‘ageing self’ and how these shapes their understanding of
successful ageing in later life. Specifically, this study aims to gain an understanding of
the attitudes, normative beliefs and subjective norms that influence one’s intention
with regard to successful ageing in the future, and the implications of this for intended
behavioural change. This study also focused on the priorities and supports needed to
cope with uncertainty that impacts on the ageing experience among the participants.
Method: A qualitative study using Constructivist Grounded Theory (CGT)
methodology. The data were collected through in-depth interviews with 16 middle-aged
adults between 40 and 60 years of age living in Malaysia. These participants met
the inclusion criteria of the study and were able to articulate their views about ageing.
Heterogeneity of the interviews was maintained in terms of the participants’ gender
and marital and health status. The data analysis identified core categories and built a
theoretical perspective of ageing successfully that is related to Malaysian adults –
leading to the development of the Conceptual Model of Successful Ageing and
Uncertainty. The analysis method was consistent with the CGT approach.
Results: Uncertainty posed by ‘disruptive events’ in middle age is the key interrupter
to achieving successful ageing. Such disruptive events were identified through the
primary experiences and incidents encountered by the participants themselves, and
also indirectly through the secondary awareness gained through the experiences of
other people. The sources of disruptive events are encountered around biomedical
factors, personal factors and pressures from socio-economic expectations. The
dimensions of uncertainty were influenced by the nature of the disruptive events (e.g.
The severity of the impacts, unfulfilled normative expectations and etc.), the
knowledge and resources available, assessment by the individual and the input of time.
These factors played a significant role in decreasing or increasing the level of
uncertainty. The research participants tended to construct their ‘ageing selves’ in the
face of adversity, and the coping strategies of ‘being resilient’, ‘building
interdependence’, ‘creating balance’ and ‘modifying lifestyles and behaviours’ were
developed instinctively to ensure their well-being in older age.
Conclusion: The lay views of Malaysian middle-aged adults with regard to ageing
successfully are multidimensional and include attainment of certainty in terms of
physical and psychological health, spiritual fulfilment, family relationship,
independence, financial freedom and having a meaningful life. Resilience through
familial and religious understanding is demonstrated to be a key influence on
individual behaviour in the face of adversity. There is a need for studies to be
conducted in these areas in the future to ensure that middle-aged adults, irrespective
of their health status, are exposed to an encouraging environment and are prepared for