Everyday problem solving in adulthood and old age.
We examined everyday problem solving in adulthood and compared it with traditional measures of cognitive abilities. In the first phase of the research, we describe the construction of an inventory to assess problem solving in situations that adults might encounter in everyday life and examine raters' judgments of effective responses to the problems. In the second phase, adults (N = 126) between the ages of 20 and 78 were administered the inventory and tests of verbal and abstract problem-solving abilities. Results indicated modest but significant positive correlations between performance on the inventory and traditional ability tests. The examination of age differences revealed that performance on the Everyday Problem-Solving Inventory and verbal ability test increased with age, whereas performance on a traditional problem-solving test declined after middle age. In addition, education was unrelated to everyday problem solving, highly related to verbal ability, and moderately related to traditional problem solving. Results are discussed in relation to pluralistic conceptions of intelligence and theories of adult intellectual development.
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)