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Socioemotional Selectivity Theory

Page history last edited by Debra Lee 15 years ago

Socioemotional Selectivity Theory




Carstensen theorized that as we age, more meaningful social relationships become more important to us. We realize that our time is limited, so we seek to share the remainder of our lives with a select group of people. Although both older and younger people have similar numbers of social relationships, the older people tended to have fewer peripheral relationships (Bjorklund & Bee, 2008 citing a study by Fung, Carstensen, & Lang, 2001).


Major Theorists

Laura Carstensen (1995)


Citations to Major Works

  • Fung, H. H., Carstensen, L.L., & Lang, F. (2001). Age-related patterns in social networks among European-Americans and African-Americans: Implications for socioemotional selectivity across the life span. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 52, 185-206.
  • Carstensen, L.L. (1995). Evidence for a life span theory of socioemotional selectivity. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 4, 151-156.


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