Generative Acts: Family and Community Involvement of Older Australians Academic Article uri icon


  • The article adopts a developmental approach to successful human aging by exploring the concept of generativity in relation to a study of older Australians' lived experiences of involvement in the family and community. Qualitative data, collected through focus group interviews, were analyzed interpretively using recent developments in Erikson's theory of generativity as a framework. As a result, the present study contributes an in-depth understanding of the role of generative acts to the lives of older people. The data provide illustrative support for Erikson's contention of a generativity/stagnation crisis in later life. Involvement in the family and community is seen as a productive and generative activity, which promotes a positive experience of aging. Two further emergent themes are also explored. First, the experiences of study participants illustrate the reciprocal and cyclical nature of grand-generativity, and the importance of intergenerational relationships. Finally, the data contribute to our knowledge of cultural generativity, and in particular the passing on of cultural knowledge through narratives and modeling.

publication date

  • September 2006