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The Environment as Developmental Context: In All Ages But Certainly in Old Age

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The biographical account underlying this chapter starts in the midst of the 1980s in Berlin, after my first job as a research associate in an epidemiology and aging project at Heidelberg University had ended. The real breakthrough toward becoming a scientist with a serious interest in behavioral aging came when I received the opportunity to work with Margret M. Baltes at the Free University of Berlin, and later also with Paul B. Baltes in the context of the Berlin Aging Study. At the time, my emerging focus on the ecology of aging was much infused by Margret's research on social ecologies of aging as well as the work of M. Powell Lawton at the Philadelphia Geriatric Center, where I had the privilege to stay for a couple of months at the end of the 1980s. My main ambition regarding the ecology of aging has been to better link a person–environment interaction perspective with a life-span view of human development. Most recently, I see major new impulses toward better understanding the role of context for aging well. For example, new designs such as momentary ecological assessments and data linkage will add much to the ecology of aging at large and counteract the ongoing trend of decontextualizing aging processes and outcomes.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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