Section III: Social and Behavioral Gerontology


In social and behavioral gerontology aging is perceived as a part of a lifelong development that is embedded into social relationships and influenced through basic social conditions. As part of the process personal as well as contextual factors bringing about continuity or changes are determined. Lifestyles, cognitive capacities, health and life experiences constitute personal factors. The contextual factors include the spatial and social environment, material resources as well as social images of aging and socio-political conditions. 

The aging process is influenced by historic and cultural factors. Therefore, contributions from those disciplines dealing with these questions are indispensible. 

Our main research:

  • Analysis of the diverse forms of aging and the factors influencing them. This task is realized within the context of interdisciplinary projects. 
  • Research into continuity and discontinuity with respect to experiences and behavior as part of a biography as well as into the capacities within different areas of operation. 
  • Analysis of the resources and risks associated with aging. These are examined on a personal and a social level as well as with respect to interpersonal interaction, since the opportunities for personal development and the specific vulnerabilities of elderly individuals in certain life circumstances are still not recognized sufficiently by society. 
  • Prevention and intervention constitute further central subjects of our work. The approach may be found on an individual level (e.g. fostering life satisfaction), within the environment (e.g. promotion of social relationships) and the spatial environment (improvement of housing, working conditions and infrastructure).

The section places large emphasis on the cooperation among scientists from different disciplines and, accordingly, on interdisciplinary research. We strive to encourage transfer between fundamental and practical questions. This interdisciplinary exchange is also carried out through the cooperation with other sections of the DGGG and other expert associations.

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