Original Article

Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 261-278

First online:

A New Multidimensional Model of Successful Aging: Perceptions of Japanese American Older Adults

  • Gayle Y. IwamasaAffiliated withDepartment of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Office of Mental Health OperationsDepartment of Psychology, DePaul University Email author 
  • , Michiko IwasakiAffiliated withDepartment of Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling & Counseling Psychology, West Virginia UniversityDepartment of Counseling & Guidance Services, Ball State University

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This study examined the concept of successful aging using an ethnographic grounded-theory approach. Seventy-seven Japanese American older adults participated in focus groups. Participants perceived successful aging as optimal functioning in the following areas: Physical health, psychological health, cognitive functioning, socialization, spirituality, and financial security. The content of each dimension represents both culture-specific and culturally-universal elements. This new multidimensional model of successful aging was compared to Rowe and Kahn’s (The Gerontologist 37:433–440, 1997) and Phelan et al.’s frameworks (Journal of the American Geriatric Society 52:211–216, 2004) of successful aging. The model of successful aging generated from this study appears to be more comprehensive than existing models and incorporates sociocultural experiences.


Japanese Americans Older adults Successful aging Focus groups Qualitative method Grounded theory