Motivation for Longevity Across the Life Span: An Emerging Issue

Lang F, Rupprecht F (2019)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2019


Book Volume: 3

Journal Issue: 2

DOI: 10.1093/geroni/igz014


Over the past decades, increases in life expectancy in most modern societies have raised questions about whether and to what extent individuals value possible extensions of their personal lifetime. In this vein, a new field of research emerged that investigates the determinants, concomitants, and consequences of longevity values and personal preferences for an extended lifetime across adulthood. Based on a review of available theoretical and empirical work, we identified 3 mindsets on the challenges and potentials of human longevity common in research as well as personal views: (a) an essentialist mindset that builds on ideal principles of an infinite life, aimed at conquering or significantly postponing a biologically determined aging process, (b) a medicalist mindset that appraises aging as being primarily based on quality of health, and (c) a stoicist mindset that associates longevity and lifetime extension with the experience of grace and meaning. In this regard, we submit that motivation for longevity and its behavioral consequences differ depending on what mindsets individuals adopt in a given developmental context. We suggest that mindsets of longevity motivation are embedded in personal belief systems (e.g., death acceptance) that may depend on health, and on context influences (e.g., culture). Mindsets of longevity motivation may be related to differences in health behavior and late-life preparation. We illustrate such ideas with an exploratory analysis from a cross-cultural data set. We discuss the possible implications of these mindsets of longevity motivation for the aging sciences, and with regard to individual ways of approaching old age.

Authors with CRIS profile

How to cite


Lang, F., & Rupprecht, F. (2019). Motivation for Longevity Across the Life Span: An Emerging Issue. Innovation in Aging, 3(2).


Lang, Frieder, and Fiona Rupprecht. "Motivation for Longevity Across the Life Span: An Emerging Issue." Innovation in Aging 3.2 (2019).

BibTeX: Download