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While successful aging is often defined as the absence of disease and disability or as life satisfaction, self-transcendence may also play an important role. The objective of this research was to test a nursing theory of successful aging proposing that transcendence and adaptation predict successful aging. In this cross-sectional exploratory study, a convenience sample of older adults (N = 152) were surveyed about self-transcendence, proactive coping, and successful aging. Using hierarchical multiple regression, self-transcendence, proactive coping, and all control variables (i.e., sex, race, perceived health, place of residence) together explained 50% of the variance in successful aging (p < 0.001). However, proactive coping alone was not a significant predictor of successful aging. Thus, this study did not support the theory that both self-transcendence and proactive coping predict successful aging. Self-transcendence was the only significant contributor to this multidimensional view of successful aging. Self-transcendence is an important variable in the pursuit of successful aging, which merits further investigation.

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This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Research in Gerontological Nursing, volume 6, number 3, in 2013, following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at DOI: 10.3928/19404921-20130508-01