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Lay perspectives of successful ageing: a systematic review and meta-ethnography
  1. Theodore D Cosco1,
  2. A Matthew Prina1,
  3. Jaime Perales2,
  4. Blossom C M Stephan3,
  5. Carol Brayne1
  1. 1Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Cambridge Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  2. 2Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Deu, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  3. 3Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK
  1. Correspondence to Theodore D Cosco; tdc33{at}


Objectives The aim of the current study was to conduct a systematic review of lay perspectives of successful ageing (SA), synthesise these data using a metaethnographic framework and to provide a snapshot of extant lay perspectives of SA.

Design A systematic review of layperson perspectives of SA was conducted across MEDLINE, PsycInfo, CINAHL, EMBASE and ISI Web of Knowledge.

Participants Peer-reviewed studies conducting qualitative investigations of lay perspectives of SA were included. Included studies were coded and analysed using NVivo V.9 to examine underlying themes of SA.

Results The search strategy identified 7285 articles; 26 articles met the inclusion criteria. Laypersons identified psychosocial components, notably engagement (eg, social engagement), and personal resources (eg, attitude) as integral components of SA more often than ‘physiological’ components, such as longevity or physical functioning. These results also highlight the profound under-representation of non-Western countries and the cultural homogeneity of research participants.

Conclusions The current study reveals the importance laypersons place on incorporating psychosocial components into multidimensional models of SA, as well as highlighting the need for increased research with under-represented populations.

  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Public Health
  • Qualitative Research

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and

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