Friendship and Happiness in the Third Age

  • Rebecca G. Adams
  • Emily M. TaylorEmail author


This chapter examines the research related to only one of the many potential hypotheses derived from Havighurst’s (1961) statement regarding successful aging—i.e., that friendship and happiness are positively related and thus the role of friendship provides a viable alternative to adults who have experiences role losses associated with aging. Twenty-five studies of older adults were identified that included a measure of friendship or a related concept and of happiness or a related concept, all of which reported a positive correlation between the two variables. The work of friendship researchers to support Havighurst’s vision of social policy designed to promote successful aging is not finished, however. To complete their work, these researchers must encourage interventions to support opportunities for older adults to continue or increase their participation in the role of friendship as they age. For this reason, large, national, probability samples need to be studied over a sufficiently long period of time to ensure that we understand the relationships among aging, friendship activity, and happiness, and therefore any advice based on the available evidence is more likely to be good.


Friendship Aging Happiness Older adults Elderly Successful aging 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboroUSA

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