Predicting the Everyday Life Events of Older Adults

A. J. Zautra, J. F. Finch, J. W. Reich, C. A. Guarnaccia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


ABSTRACT Predicting the everyday life events of people is a relatively unexplored topic, although several major theoretical approaches deal with related issues. The dispositional approach would assign a causal role to personality, while the situational approach would locate causation in the person's environment. Variations on these two extreme themes invoke an interactionist interpretation. Beyond this, a genuinely transactional approach focuses on the enduring person‐environment relationship established as people deal with major and everyday life events. This study investigated a wide range of predictors of daily positive, negative, and ill‐health events over time in a sample of 206 older adults. Results showed that personality variables played only a minor role in predicting daily events, although an interaction between extraversion and social network size was significant. Background demographic variables and the major stressors of recent conjugal bereavement and physical disability played a role in daily event occurrences. Overall, the strongest degree of predictability of events came from the events themselves: The high degree of event stability over time indicated the value of a genuinely transactional model in understanding the occurrence of everyday events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-538
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of personality
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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