Eudaimonia, Aging, and Health: A Review of Underlying Mechanisms

Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)


Changes in physiological functioning pervade the aging process. Gradual declines in fundamental aspects of the neuroendocrine, cardiovascular, and immune systems contribute to increased risks for morbidity and mortality. Importantly, alterations in physiological processes are not invariant with age, but are influenced by individual differences in vulnerability and resilience that accrue across the lifespan. In this chapter, we focus on what is known about eudaimonic well-being (i.e., self-acceptance, positive relations with others, autonomy, environmental mastery, purpose in life, personal growth) as a contributing factor in lowering broad-based morbidity and mortality in older adults. Plausible pathways that may underlie the association between eudaimonia and health are described, and illustrative studies examining these pathways are reviewed. Intervention approaches to promote eudaimonic well-being in old age are highlighted, and priority recommendations for future research are presented.


Happiness Wellbeing Eudaimonia Health Development 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human DevelopmentCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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