Developmental regulation across the life span: Toward a new synthesis

Claudia M. Haase*, Jutta Heckhausen, Carsten Wrosch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


How can individuals regulate their own development to live happy, healthy, and productive lives? Major theories of developmental regulation across the life span have been proposed (e.g., dual-process model of assimilation and accommodation; motivational theory of life-span development; model of selection, optimization, and compensation), but they have rarely been integrated. We provide an integration of key processes and predictions postulated by the 3 theories. Moreover, we present evidence from 2 ageheterogeneous, cross-sectional studies showing that the different processes of developmental regulation proposed by the different theories center around 3 key processes (i.e., goal engagement, goal disengagement, and metaregulation), which are positively associated with age and well-being. We conclude by proposing an agenda for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)964-972
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Developmental regulation
  • Goals
  • Life-span development
  • Successful development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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