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The Grant Study is a 68-year longitudinal study of two socially different cohorts: 237 physically and mentally healthy Harvard college sophomores from the classes of 1939-1944, and a second cohort of 332 disadvantaged non-delinquent inner-city youths who grew up in Boston neighborhoods between 1940 and 1945.[1] The subjects were all male, white and of American nationality.

The men were followed for 68 years until they reached the ages of 70 years for the inner-city group and 80 years for the Harvard cohort. The study, its methodology and results are described in two books by a principal investigator in the study, George Vaillant. The first book [2] describes the study up to a time when the men were 47 years of age, and the second book [3] to when the inner-city men were 70 years old and the Harvard group were eighty.

The men were evaluated at least every two years by questionnaires, information from their physicians, and in many cases by personal interviews. Information was gathered about their mental and physical health, career enjoyment, retirement experience and marital quality. The goal of the study was to identify predictors of healthy aging.

The study is part of The Study of Adult Development. The study included four members who ran for the U.S. Senate. One served in a presidential Cabinet, and one was President John F. Kennedy.[4] The study is unique partly because of the long time span of the cohort, partly because of the high social status of some the study participants.

Data from the study is used in The Study of Adult Development, and provides insight in to factors contributing to the good life.


  1. Vaillant, G. Mukamal, K. Successful Aging. American Journal of Psychiatry,2001:158:839-847
  2. Vaillant, George E. Adaptation to Life, 1977
  3. Vaillant, George E. Aging Well, 2002

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