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The Model of Selection, Optimization, and Compensation


Selective optimization with compensation theory; SOC model


A meta-model of general developmental processes based in the life-span developmental psychology tradition and typically applied to describe and study developmental regulation.


The model of selection, optimization, and compensation (SOC) was introduced by Paul and Margret Baltes (1990). Conceived as a meta-model of developmental processes applicable to different domains and levels of functioning, the SOC model is often applied in life-span developmental research, particularly among older adults, using an action-theoretical framework. The SOC model includes three broad categories of goal selection and pursuit (See “Self-regulation” and “Goal setting”).

Selection involves delineating goals as a range of possible developmental outcomes and committing to a subset of these goals. In the SOC model, selection occurs either electively (e.g., choosing to increase physical activity; termed elective selection)...

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Correspondence to Christopher M. Napolitano .

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Napolitano, C.M., Freund, A.M. (2019). The Model of Selection, Optimization, and Compensation. In: Gu, D., Dupre, M. (eds) Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging. Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-69892-2

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