NorLAG Den norske studien av livsløp, aldring og generasjon

Active ageing – pathways and outcomes

Population ageing changes the balance between generations. Active ageing is therefore a key objective in developing a sustainable welfare state.

Utilizing a life course perspective and longitudinal data, this project investigates pathways and outcomes of active ageing in three domains and their interactions: the labor market (paid work), civil society (volunteerism), and the family (family care and support).

A key question is how opportunities and constraints in earlier years, and previous practices and relationships, influence activity and participation in old age:

  • Do changes in work and life conditions in the years prior to eligible pension age influence plans for and timing of retirement?
  • Does volunteering in old age substitute loss of previous productive social roles, or is volunteering primarily a continuation of earlier activity?
  • Are past patterns of involvement in intergenerational support reflected in current participation?

Another key question addresses the interplay between the three domains: Does activity in one domain compete or complement activities in other domains?

A third set of questions address the individual outcomes of participation in work, civic society and family.

The empirical analyses will build on panel data from three waves of the NorLAG study. NorLAG data consist of survey data which are linked with administrative register data. A sample of 3 700 persons aged 40+ in 2003 has been followed to 2008 and will be interviewed again in 2016, and a gross sample of 13 000 persons will be followed from wave 2008 to 2016.

Comparative (cross-national) data are available as NorLAG is included in the international Generations and Gender survey (GGS). Cooperation with the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) adds to the comparative potential of the project.

The prosject is financed by the Norwegian Research Council and is lead by Thomas Hansen.

Other NOVA-researchers in the project: Tale Hellevik, Katharina Herlofson, Thomas Hansen, Per Erik Solem, Marja Aartsen og Svein Olav Daatland. Other involved: Morten Blekesaune (Universitetet i Agder), Christian Deindl (University of Cologne) and Martina Brandt (Technical University of Dortmund).

The prosject has an advisory board that consists of 7 leading, international experts: Pearl Dykstra (Erasmus Universiteit), Giovanni Lamura (INCRA), Clemens Tesch-Römer (Deutsches Zentrum für Alterfragen), Anne Gauthier (NIDI), Sara Arber (University of Surrey), Rick Settersten (Oregon State University) and Chris Phillipson (University of Manchester).

For more information contact Thomas Hansen ( or Britt Slagsvold (


Norwegian grandparents – more engaged with grandchildren than people think
Advisory board member for municipal project to promote senior voluntarism
Symposium at the IAGG-ER Conference: “Volunteering in later life: Activity, Motivation and Barriers
Are volunteers happier? Paper referenced on SHARE webpages 
Advisory Board Meeting in Oslo Sept 20-21
Workshop on Active aging at the 24th Nordic congress of gerontology



Aartsen, M. & Hansen, T. (nov, 2019). Social participation in the second half of life. Encyclopedia of Biomedical Gerontology. Elsevier/Academic Press. 

Hansen, T. & Slagsvold, B. (2019). Et Øst-Vest skille for eldres livskvalitet i Europa? En sammenligning av ensomhet og depressive symptomer i 12 land. Nordisk Østforum, 33, 74-90.

Hansen, T. & Slagsvold, B. (2019). Terza età, la depressione non è un destino (italiensk versjon)/Late-life depression and loneliness: different preconditions of active ageing in Europe (engelsk versjon). Ingenere (

Hansen, T. & Slagsvold, B. (2019). Frauen leiden häufiger unter Einsamkeit und Depression im Alter. Berlin: Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Herlofson, K., Daatland, S. O. & Veenstra, M. (2019). Generasjoner imellom: Holdninger til familiens ansvar øst og vest i Europa (The strength and character of family responsibility norms in Eastern and Western Europe). Nordisk Østforum, 33, 34-53. 

Von Soest, T., Luhmann, M., Hansen, T., & Gerstorf, D. (in press). Development of loneliness in midlife and old age: Its nature and correlates. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.


Hansen, T. & Slagsvold, B. (2018). Gender inequality in late-life loneliness and depression: A comparative European perspective. In “Gender (in)equality over the life course: Evidence from the Generations and Gender Programme” (pp. 32-38), Gauthier, A., Kotowska, I., & de Vilhena, D. (eds). Population Europe Discussion Paper no. 10.

Hansen, T., Aartsen, M., Slagsvold., & Deindl, C. (2018). Dynamics of volunteering and life satisfaction in midlife and old age: Findings from 12 European countries. Social Sciences, special issue “Active aging and wellbeing: Advancement of Interdisciplinary Research” (available online).

von Soest, T., Wagner, J., Hansen, T., & Gerstorf, D. (2018). Self-esteem across the second half of life: The role of socioeconomic status, physical health, social relationships, and personality factors. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Personality Processes and Individual Differences, 114(6), 945-958.

Solem, P. E. (2018). Norway, In “Ageing Workforce, Social Cohesion and Sustainable Development – Political Challenges within the Baltic Sea Region”. Population Europe Discussion Paper Series. Berlin: Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research.


Slagsvold, B. & Hansen, T. (2016). Morgendagens eldre – betydningen av økt utdanning for mental helse [Future elderly with higher education – some consequences for mental Health]. Tidsskrift for Norsk Psykologforening, 54, 36-45.

Solem, P. E. (2017). Aldring og arbeidsprestasjoner. Tidsskrift for Norsk Psykologforening, 57-63.


Herlofson, K. (2016). Lengre liv, nye hjelpemønstre i familien? [Longer lives, new patterns of intergenerational exchange]. Sosiologi i dag, 45: 24-45.

Selected papers:

  • Aartsen, M., Hansen, T., & Slagsvold, B. Volunteering and quality of life in middle aged and older adults: Causation or Selection? 24. Nordic Congress of Gerontology, Oslo May 2-4 2018.
  • Aartsen, M. The social pattern of conflicting and low quality social relations. 24. Nordic Congress of Gerontology, Oslo May 2-4 2018.
  • Aartsen, M. Pressing issues for policy and practice to reduce social exclusion. 24. Nordic Congress of Gerontology, Oslo May 2-4 2018.
  • Brandt, M. & Herlofson, K. Caring for parents and grandchildren in Europe. 24. Nordic Congress of Gerontology, Oslo May 2-4 2018.
  • Hansen, T. & Slagsvold, B. Volunteering among middle-aged and older Norwegians: participation, motivation, and Barriers. 24. Nordic Congress of Gerontology, Oslo May 2-4 2018.
  • Hansen, T., Aartsen, M., Slagsvold, B. & Deindl, C. (presenter). Dynamics of volunteering and life satisfaction in midlife and old age: Findings from 12 European countries. 24. Nordic Congress of Gerontology, Oslo May 2-4 2018.
  • Hansen, T. & Slagsvold, B. (2015). Sammenhenger mellom frivillig arbeid og livskvalitet. 6. norske aldersforskningskongress, Voksenåsen, Oslo 3-4. des.
  • Hansen, T. & Slagsvold, B. (2016). Dynamics of volunteering and life satisfaction in midlife and old age: Findings from 12 European countries. The Gerontological Society of America’s 69th Annual Scientific Meeting, New Orleans 21. des.
  • Hellevik, T. Raising average retirement age – the likelihood of unintended consequences. 24. Nordic Congress of Gerontology, Oslo May 2-4 2018.
  • Hellevik, T. (2016). Changes in preferred retirement age. Work, age, health and employment – evidence from longitudinal studies, Wuppertal, 19-21. sept.
  • Hellevik, T. (2016). Expectations for life in retirement – what does it mean for plans for and actual timing of retirement? 23rd Nordic Congress of Gerontology, Tampere, 19.-22. juni
  • Herlofson, K. (2016). Macro-micro links. Population structures and Family realities. 8th Congress of the European Society on Family Relations, Dortmund, 31. aug-3. sept.
  • Herlofson, K., Veenstra, M. & Nordbø, H.V. (2017). Caring for aging parents – gender inequalities in a gender equal welfare state? 21st IAGG World Congress, San Francisco, 23.-27. Juli.
  • Nordbø, H. & Herlofson, K. Helping ageing parents – the role of responsibility norms and relationship quality. 24. Nordic Congress of Gerontology, Oslo May 2-4 2018.
  • Slagsvold, B. (2015). Aktiv aldring – kunne, ville, måtte. VAM konferanse: Arbeid for livet, Oslo, 21. okt.
  • Solem, PE. (2016). Livskvalitet, mestring og aktivitet i eldre år. Dagsseminar. Helsedirektoratet.