Tornstam's theory of gerotranscendence can be defined as a "shift in meta-perspective from a materialistic and rational view to a more cosmic and transcendent one, normally followed by an increase in life satisfaction" (Tornstam 1989:55). The theory of gerotranscendence, a relatively new theory about aging, is based on a number of previously existing theories all of which in Tornstam's opinion have failed to explain the changes associated with aging. The current research attempted to identify whether or not the signs of gerotranscendence were generalizable to a moderately sized Southern Minnesota city. The researcher was also interested in whether or not higher levels of depression or greater levels of death anxiety contributed to fewer signs of gerotranscendence. The eight participants of the study were asked questions related to gerotranscendence and also completed a gerotranscendence scale (Cozort 2008) and geriatric depression measure (Yesavage et al. 1983). The interviews were then coded and analyzed. The participants of the study all exhibited signs of gerotranscendence, albeit in varying degrees. Partly due to the methodology of the research, none of the participants indicated any level of depression, thus making it a nonfactor with regard to the second research question. Participants also had varying degrees of death related anxiety. Those who accepted death generally had higher degrees of gerotranscendence than those who expressed uncertainty about death and those participants who tried to deny death. This research study contributes to the understanding of the gerotranscendence theory and all that it has to offer with regard to explaining how the aging individual's behaviors, thoughts and feelings change with age.


Donald Ebel

Committee Member

Leah Rogne

Committee Member

Jeffrey Buchanan

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Included in

Gerontology Commons



Rights Statement

In Copyright