Psychological Functioning in Adulthood

Daniele Artistico, Jane M. Berry, Justin Black, Dan Cervone, Courtney Lee and Heather Orom

in The Oxford Handbook of Reciprocal Adult Development and Learning

Second edition

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199736300
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Psychological Functioning in Adulthood


In the first edition of this handbook, we laid the foundation for a self-efficacy approach to understanding learning in adulthood. We examined self-efficacy applications to learning in adulthood from two broad-based theoretical perspectives: KAPA (knowledge and appraisal personality architecture; Cervone, 2004a) and SOC (selective optimization with compensation, Baltes, Lindenberger, & Staudinger, 2006). Both perspectives emphasize the dynamic interplay between dispositional, motivational, situational, and developmental contexts for successful functioning and adaptation in life. In this edition, we build upon earlier claims with new evidence regarding the central role of self-efficacy to adult development, aging, and well-being in memory, health, work, and everyday problem-solving contexts. Of these, the work context is new in this edition, and the sections on memory, problem solving, and health are expanded and updated. The unifying theme of our chapter is the individual’s ability to adapt flexibly to new learning opportunities that arise in adulthood and old age by relying on perceived self-efficacy as a coping resource for navigating the changing social, cognitive, and physical landscape of late adulthood.

Keywords: self-efficacy; personality architecture; cognitive abilities; health; work motivation

Article.  25370 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Developmental Psychology

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