Understanding the relationship between age-related expectancies and satisfaction with life based on the theory of the social clock

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Mackey, Sean
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BA (Hons) in Social Science
Dublin Business School
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Based on the understanding that Ireland’s population is currently undergoing a process of aging, this research project aimed to find if people due to this process are participating in events later on in life. This research project aimed to test this theory as well as the theory of the social clock. This study aimed to discover the contemporary age norms and to see if a relationship could be found between satisfaction with life and theory of the social clock. A literature review was carried out in which found various aspects of the social clock, time, trends and aging. Levinson’s theory (1978) and Erikson’s eight psychological stages of development were also discussed. 175 participants took part in a qualitative study via method of questionnaire. The questionnaire related to the past study ‘What’s the Right Time? (Rosenfield and Stark, 1987) and contained a satisfaction with life scale. The questionnair allowed the participants data to be compared in order to see if he/she was ‘on or off time’. The findings of this study supported the theory of the social clock. Both primary hypotheses were supported as a relationship between satisfaction with life and being ‘on time’ was found and the participants were found to participate in major life events later on in life. The age norms of a contemporary social clock were found in which are illustrated and discussed. Author keywords: Social clock, age, norms, time