Ageing International

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 348–368

Etic and Emic Perspectives on Aging Across Four Countries: Italy, Thailand, Botswana, and the United States

  • Nancy J. Karlin
  • Joyce Weil
  • Narumon Saratapun
  • Suporntip Pupanead
  • Keinyatse Kgosidialwa

DOI: 10.1007/s12126-014-9198-7

Cite this article as:
Karlin, N.J., Weil, J., Saratapun, N. et al. Ageing Int (2014) 39: 348. doi:10.1007/s12126-014-9198-7


Elders’ experiences while aging in place were obtained as part of an effort to develop a typology of emic (culture-specific) and etic (universal) models of aging. Data came from interviews with older adults in Italy, Thailand, Botswana, and the United States. Analysis of variance was used to examine similarities and differences in the samples. Comparing country data from the four collection sites, similarities were indicated for participants’ marital status, and having children and grandchildren. Differences were evident for the number of children and grandchildren, level of reported health and happiness, overall satisfaction with life, type of pension received, whether benefits are sufficient, the availability of extra revenue, and the number of daily and weekly activities indicated. Findings highlight the diverse cross-national aging experience of elders in this study. As worldwide demographic change leads to older populations and there are shifts in societal norms (in family involvement in caregiving, health care, and policy development), there is a dire need to understand how these changes impact elders at emic (culture/country-specific) and etic (universal) levels.


Etic Emic Cross-cultural Aging 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy J. Karlin
    • 1
  • Joyce Weil
    • 2
  • Narumon Saratapun
    • 3
  • Suporntip Pupanead
    • 4
  • Keinyatse Kgosidialwa
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Psychological SciencesUniversity of Northern ColoradoGreeleyUSA
  2. 2.School of Human Sciences, GerontologyUniversity of Northern ColoradoGreeleyUSA
  3. 3.Physical Education and SportsKasetsart UniversityBangkokThailand
  4. 4.EducationKasetsart UniversityBangkokThailand
  5. 5.Educational FoundationsUniversity of BotswanaGaboroneBotswana

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