Faculty Books and Book Chapters

Life Review

Life Review

Book Title

Essays in Developmental Psychology

Document Type


Publication Date



Randall Summers, Charles Golden, Lisa Lashley, & Erica Ailes


elderly’s social status, life review, modern society, older adults, perceived purpose, self-esteem, storytelling, youth focus



In traditional societies, storytelling was an art used to help understand the meaning of life. Storytellers typically included older adults who had experienced challenges in their lives and were aiming to help the young learn from them. This tradition of storytelling not only facilitated the transmission of valuable information between generations, but it also improved the elderly’s social status. One of the many changes associated with modernized society has been placing a larger focus on youth, allowing the elderly to be marginalized within society. As a byproduct of the focus on youth in modern society, older adults have collectively experienced a loss of purpose, which leads to lower self-esteem. Life review serves as a mechanism through which older adults can maintain high levels of perceived purpose and self-esteem throughout old age.

Additional Information

This is one in a collection of essays as part of a project that began as an encyclopedia of developmental psychology coordinated by Dr. Randall Summers. However, for unforeseen reasons, the publisher was no longer in a position to publish the encyclopedia. This project was undertaken so that thousands of hours of work by psychologists would not go wasted. Enjoy these essays and feel free to cite them using the proper format.

Submit suggestions for corrections and topics to goldench@nova.edu.




Link to Full Text

Download Full Text

Life Review