Productive Engagement in Older Adults: Effects on Well Being and Mortality

Nancy Morrow-Howell, Ph.D.

Project Overview:
Study Questions:

  1. Do certain types and levels of engagement in productive activities affect health, mental health, and life satisfaction of older adults?
  2. Do certain characteristics of older adults, like age, gender, ethnicity, and social contact, interact with these aspects of the engagement to produce differential outcomes? 


  • To better understand the role of productive engagement in later life
  • To improve quality of later life among older adults 
  • To help shape programs and policies that maximize the potential of the aging population

Study methodology: 
Study questions will be answered using an existing data set from the Americans' Changing Lives Study (ACLS). The ACLS is national longitudinal survey of 3,617 adults, with an oversampling of people over the age of 60. Data include employment, caregiving, volunteering, health, mental health, and life satisfaction collected in 1986, 1989, & 1994.

Final Report:
Read the full Final Report.