This study examined successful aging through a family resilience lens by developing a psychometrically tested assessment that can be used to measure family and individual resilience in a population of older adults and by then applying these latent structures to predict successful aging across four domains; self-rated successful aging, psychosocial health, cognitive decline, and physical health. Data from 1,006 older adults were analyzed in three steps. The first identified the underlying latent structure through principle component (exploratory) factor analysis (EFA). The second included the use of confirmatory factor analysis to validate the structure from the first step. The third utilized a structural equation model (SEM) to understand the predictive power of individual and family resilience on outcomes of successful aging, and then, tested the interdependence relationship between individual and family resilience. EFA produced an eight-factor structure that appeared clinically relevant. CFA confirmed the eight-factor structure previously achieved and confirmed a second order nesting of these factors into individual and family resilience factors. SEM showed individual and family resilience operates as interdependent concepts and produce unique predictive validity for measures of successful aging. This study advances the family resilience framework in connection with individual resilience by introducing the Multilevel Resilience Measure (MRM) that assesses two levels of resilience (family and individual) in older adults, which can be utilized to predict domains of successful aging. Understanding aging from a family resilience lens assists in recognizing the transitions, adaptations, and recovery processes experienced by families as they age, which provides direction for future research and clinical application.

LLU Discipline

Marital and Family Therapy


Counseling and Family Sciences


School of Science and Technology

First Advisor

Distelberg, Brian

Second Advisor

Baker, Winetta

Third Advisor

Knudson-Martin, Carmen

Fourth Advisor

Montross, Lori

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded

January 2012

Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Family -- Mental Health; Resilience (Personality Trait); Aging

Subject - Local

Family Resilience Lens; Aging; Family Resilience; Individual Resilience; Psychosocial Health; Cognitive Decline; Physical Health; Self-rated Successful Aging; Multilevel Resilience Measure



Page Count

200 p.

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses & Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives