Dov Shmotkin2Professor Emeritus, School of Psychological Sciences

Short Biography

Dov Shmotkin is Professor Emeritus in the School of Psychological Sciences and Head of the Herczeg Institute on Aging, both at Tel Aviv University. He received his PhD from Tel Aviv University. He is a senior clinical psychologist and formerly the head of the clinical psychology graduate program in the School of Psychological Sciences. He was Visiting Scholar in the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Honorary Fellow in the Institute on Aging at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA.


Fields of Interest

Dov Shmotkin conducts research that concerns the development of an integrated theory on the pursuit of happiness in the face of adversity. This work expands his studies on well-being across the life span as well as on the long-term traumatic effects among Holocaust survivors. His studies in this area examine the interrelations of biographical experiences (e.g., trauma), mainly as contoured by the individual's time perspective, with self-conception systems (e.g., subjective well-being, meaning in life, the hostile-world scenario). He is engaged in gerontological research on developmental and aging processes along adulthood and late life, focusing on the relations of such processes with current functioning (physical and mental health). Part of his gerontological research deals with diverse predictors of mortality.


Selected Publications

Shmotkin, D. (1990). Subjective well-being as a function of age and gender: A multivariate look for differentiated trends. Social Indicators Research, 23, 201-230. doi:10.1007/BF00293643

Shmotkin, D. (1991). The role of time orientation in life satisfaction across the life-span. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 46, P243-P250. doi:10.1093/geronj/46.5.P243

Shmotkin, D. (1991). The structure of Life Satisfaction Index A in elderly Israeli adults. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 33, 131-150. doi:10.2190/ND3A-L67H-16J7-DWJT

Shmotkin, D. (1992). The apprehensive respondent: Failing to rate future life satisfaction in older adults. Psychology and Aging, 7, 484-486. doi:10.1037//0882-7974.7.3.484

Shmotkin, D., Eyal, N., & Lomranz, J. (1992). Motivations and attitudes of clinical psychologists regarding treatment of the elderly. Educational Gerontology, 18, 177-192. doi:10.1080/0360127920180205

Shmotkin, D., Eyal, N., & Lomranz, J. (1993). Differential characteristics of clinical psychologists treating younger and older clients. Clinical Gerontologist, 12, 3-16. doi:10.1300/J018v12n03_02

Shmotkin, D., & Hadari, G. (1996). An outlook on subjective well-being in old age: An integrative formulation. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 42, 271-289. doi:10.2190/JKMB-2TH6-YB74-L8PL

Shmotkin, D. (1998). Declarative and differential aspects of subjective well-being and its implications for mental health in later life. In J. Lomranz (Ed.), Handbook of aging and mental health: An integrative approach (pp. 15-43). New York: Plenum.

Shmotkin, D., & Lomranz, J. (1998). Subjective well-being among Holocaust survivors: An examination of overlooked differentiations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 141-155. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.75.1.141

Shmotkin, D. (1999). Affective bonds of adult children with living versus deceased parents. Psychology and Aging, 14, 473-482. doi:10.1037//0882-7974.14.3.473

Keyes, C. L. M., Shmotkin, D., & Ryff, C. D. (2002). Optimizing well-being: The empirical encounter of two traditions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 1007-1022. doi:10.1037//0022-3514.82.6.1007

Shmotkin, D, & Barilan, Y. M. (2002). Expressions of Holocaust experience and their relationship to mental symptoms and physical morbidity among Holocaust survivor patients. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 25, 115-134. doi:10.1023/A:1014880604065

Shmotkin, D. (2003). Psychological theories of aging. In A. Rosin (Editor-in-Chief), Aging and gerontology in Israel (pp. 345-383). Jerusalem: JDC-Eshel. (Hebrew)

Shmotkin, D. (2003). Vulnerability and resilience intertwined: A review of research on Holocaust survivors. In R. Jacoby & G. Keinan (Eds.), Between stress and hope: From a disease-centered to a health-centered perspective (pp. 213-233). Westport, CT: Praeger.

Shmotkin, D., Blumstein, T., & Modan, B. (2003). Beyond keeping active: Concomitants of being a volunteer in old-old age. Psychology and Aging, 18, 602-607. doi:10.1037/0882-7974.18.3.602

Shmotkin, D., Blumstein, T., & Modan, B. (2003). Tracing long-term effects of early trauma: A broad-scope view of Holocaust survivors in late life. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71, 223-234. doi:10.1037/0022-006X.71.2.223

Shmotkin, D., & Eyal, N. (2003). Psychological time in later life: Implications for counseling. Journal of Counseling and Development, 81, 259-267. doi:10.1002/j.1556-6678.2003.tb00252.x

Shmotkin, D. (2005). Happiness in face of adversity: Reformulating the dynamic and modular bases of subjective well-being. Review of General Psychology, 9, 291-325. doi:10.1037/1089-2680.9.4.291

Walter-Ginzburg, A., Shmotkin, D., Blumstein, T., & Shorek, A. (2005). A gender-based dynamic multidimensional longitudinal analysis of resilience and mortality in the old-old in Israel: The Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Aging Study (CALAS). Social Science and Medicine, 60, 1705-1715. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2004.08.023

Ben-Ezra, M., & Shmotkin, D. (2006). Predictors of mortality in the old-old in Israel: The Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Aging Study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 54, 906-911. doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2006.00741.x

Shmotkin, D., Berkovich, M., & Cohen, K. (2006). Combining happiness and suffering in a retrospective view of anchor periods in life: A differential approach to subjective well-being. Social Indicators Research, 77, 139-169. doi:10.1007/s11205-005-5556-x

Cohen, K., & Shmotkin, D. (2007). Emotional ratings of anchor periods in life and their relation to subjective well-being among Holocaust survivors. Personality and Individual Differences, 43, 495-506. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2006.12.018

Shmotkin, D. (2008). Mental health and trauma among Israelis aged 50+. In L. Achdut & H. Litwin (Eds.), The 50+ cohort: First results from SHARE-Israel. Data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (special issue of Social Security [Bitachon Sociali], No. 76, pp. 197-224). Jerusalem: The National Insurance Institute of Israel. (Hebrew)

Shrira, A., & Shmotkin, D. (2008). Can the past keep life pleasant even for old-old trauma survivors? Aging and Mental Health, 12, 807-819. doi:10.1080/13607860802428018

Cohen-Mansfield, J., Shmotkin, D., & Goldberg, S. (2009). Loneliness in old age: Longitudinal changes and their determinants in an Israeli sample. International Psychogeriatrics, 21, 1160-1170. doi:10.1017/S1041610209990974

Shmotkin, D., & Litwin, H. (2009). Cumulative adversity and depressive symptoms among older adults in Israel: The differential roles of self-oriented versus other-oriented events of potential trauma. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 44, 989-997. doi:10.1007/s00127-009-0020-x

Ben-Ezra, M., & Shmotkin, D. (2010). Physical versus mental predictors of mortality among the old-old in Israel: The CALAS study. Research on Aging, 32, 595–617. doi:10.1177/0164027510374283

Cohen-Mansfield, J., Shmotkin, D., Eyal, N., Reichental, Y., & Hazan, H. (2010). A comparison of three types of autobiographical memories in old-old age: First memories, pivotal memories and traumatic memories. Gerontology, 56, 564-573. doi:10.1159/000295113

Cohen-Mansfield, J., Shmotkin, D., & Hazan, H. (2010). The effect of homebound status on older persons. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 58, 2358–2362. doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03172.x

Palgi, Y., & Shmotkin, D. (2010). The predicament of time near the end of life: Time perspective trajectories of life satisfaction among the old-old. Aging and Mental Health, 14, 577-586. doi:10.1080/13607860903483086

Palgi, Y., Shrira, A., Ben-Ezra, M., Spalter, T., Shmotkin, D., & Kavé, G. (2010). Delineating terminal change in subjective well-being and subjective health. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 65B, 61-64. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbp095

Shmotkin, D., Lerner-Geva, L., Cohen‑Mansfield, J., Blumstein, T., Eyal, N., Shorek, A., Kave, G., & Hazan, H. (2010). Profiles of functioning as predictors of mortality in old age: The advantage of a configurative approach. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 51, 68-75. doi:10.1016/j.archger.2009.07.010

Shrira, A., Palgi, Y., Ben-Ezra, M., & Shmotkin, D. (2010). Do Holocaust survivors show increased vulnerability or resilience to post-Holocaust cumulative adversity? Journal of Traumatic Stress, 23, 367-375. doi:10.1002/jts.20524

Shmotkin, D. (2011). The pursuit of happiness: Alternative conceptions of subjective well-being. In L. W. Poon & J. Cohen-Mansfield (Eds.), Understanding well-being in the oldest old (pp. 27-45). New York: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511920974.004

Shmotkin, D, & Keinan, G. (2011). Who is prone to react to coinciding threats of terrorism and war? Exploring vulnerability through global versus differential reactivity. Community Mental Health Journal, 47, 35–46. doi:10.1007/s10597-010-9354-9

Shmotkin, D., Shrira, A., Goldberg, S. C., & Palgi, Y. (2011). Resilience and vulnerability among aging Holocaust survivors and their families: An intergenerational overview. Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, 9, 7-21. doi:10.1080/15350770.2011.544202

Shmotkin, D., Shrira, A., & Palgi, Y. (2011). Does trauma linger into old-old age: Using the Holocaust experience as a paradigm. In L. W. Poon & J. Cohen-Mansfield (Eds.), Understanding well-being in the oldest old (pp. 81-95). New York: Cambridge University  Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511920974.007

Shrira, A., Palgi, Y., Ben-Ezra, M., & Shmotkin, D. (2011). Functioning and mortality of Holocaust survivors: Physical resilience and psychosocial vulnerabilities. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 16, 67-83. doi:10.1080/15325024.2010.519297

Shrira, A., Palgi, Y., Ben-Ezra, M., & Shmotkin, D. (2011). How subjective well-being and meaning in life interact in the hostile world? Journal of Positive Psychology, 6, 273-285. doi:10.1080/17439760.2011.577090

Shrira, A., Palgi, Y., Ben-Ezra, M., & Shmotkin, D. (2011). Transgenerational effects of trauma in midlife: Evidence for resilience and vulnerability in offspring of Holocaust survivors. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 3, 394-402. doi:10.1037/a0020608

Shrira, A., Palgi, Y., Ben-Ezra, M., Spalter, T., Kavé, G., & Shmotkin, D. (2011). For better and for worse: The relationship between future expectations and functioning in the second half of life. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 66B, 195–203. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbq103

Cohen-Mansfield, J., Shmotkin, D., & Hazan, H. (2012). Homebound older persons: Prevalence, characteristics, and longitudinal predictors. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 54, 55-60. doi:10.1016/j.archger.2011.02.016

Shmotkin, D., & Shrira, A. (2012). Happiness and suffering in the life story: An inquiry into conflicting expectations concerning the effect of perceived past on present subjective well-being in old age. Journal of Happiness Studies, 13, 389-409. doi:10.1007/s10902-011-9270-x

Shmotkin, D., & Shrira, A. (2012). On the distinction between subjective well-being and meaning in life: Regulatory versus reconstructive functions in the face of a hostile world. In P. T. P. Wong (Ed.), The human quest for meaning: Theories, research, and applications (2nd ed., pp. 143-163). New York: Routledge.

Shrira, A., Shmotkin, D., & Litwin, H. (2012). Potentially traumatic events at different points in the life span and mental health: Findings from SHARE-Israel. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 82, 251-259. doi:10.1111/j.1939-0025.2012.01149.x

Carmel, S., Shrira, A., & Shmotkin, D. (2013). The will-to-live and death-related decline in life satisfaction. Psychology and Aging, 28, 1115–1123. doi:10.1037/a0034649

Cohen-Mansfield, J., Shmotkin, D., Malkinson, R., Bartur, L., & Hazan, H. (2013). Parental bereavement increases mortality in older persons. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 5, 84-92. doi:10.1037/a0029011

Shenkman, G., & Shmotkin, D. (2013). The Hostile-World Scenario among Israeli homosexual adolescents and young adults. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43, 1408-1417. doi:10.1111/jasp.12097

Shmotkin, D., Eyal, N., Hazan, H., Shkolnik, T., Shorek, A., & Cohen-Mansfield, J. (2013). Between the subjective and the objective: How informative is subjective evaluation of memory among the old-old? Clinical Gerontologist, 36, 294-315. doi:10.1080/07317115.2013.788115

Shmotkin, D., & Shrira, A. (2013). Subjective well-being and meaning in life in a hostile world:  Proposing a configurative perspective. In J. Hicks and C. Routledge (Eds.), The experience of meaning in life: Classical perspectives, emerging themes, and controversies (pp. 77-86). New York: Springer.

Palgi, Y., Shrira, A., Ben-Ezra, M., Spalter, T., Kavé, G., & Shmotkin, D. (2014). Age-related and death-related differences in emotional complexity. Psychology and Aging, 29, 284–296. doi:10.1037/a0036302

Shenkman, G., & Shmotkin, D. (2014). "Kids are joy": Psychological welfare among Israeli gay fathers. Journal of Family Issues, 35, 1926-1939. doi:10.1177/0192513X13489300

Shmotkin, D., Shrira, A., Eyal, N., Blumstein, T., & Shorek, A. (2014). The prediction of subjective wellness among the old-old: Implications for the "fourth age" conception. The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 69, 719-729. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbt052

Palgi, Y., Shrira, A., & Shmotkin, D. (2015). Aging with trauma across the lifetime and experiencing trauma in old age: Vulnerability and resilience intertwined. In K. E. Cherry (Ed.), Traumatic stress and long-term recovery: Coping with disasters and other negative life events (Ch. 16, pp. 293-308). New York: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-18866-9_16

Shmotkin, D. & Averbuch, I. (2015). La poursuite du bonheur dans un monde hostile: comment la santé mentale actuelle des personnes âgées est-elle influencée par la façon dont elles perçoivent leur passé et l'avenir? [The pursuit of happiness in a hostile world: How is present mental health of old people affected by the ways they conceive their past and future?]. Psychologie Clinique, 40, 19-35. (French and English versions are available)

Shrira, A., Shmotkin, D., Palgi, Y., Soffer, Y., Hamama Raz, Y., Tal-Katz, P., Ben-Ezra, M., & Benight, C. C. (2015). How do meaning in life and positive affect regulate adaptation to stress? The case of firefighters following the Mount Carmel forest fire. Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences, 52(3), 68-70.

Shenkman, G., & Shmotkin, D. (2016). The association between self-perceived parental role and meaning in life among gay and heterosexual fathers. Journal of Family Psychology, 30, 552–561. doi:10.1037/fam0000213

Shenkman, G., & Shmotkin, D. (2016). The Hostile-World Scenario and mental health concomitants among gays and lesbians. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health, 20, 70-86. doi:10.1080/19359705.2015.1048915

Shmotkin, D., Avidor, S., & Shrira, A. (2016). The role of the Hostile-World Scenario in predicting physical and mental health outcomes in older adults. Journal of Aging and Health, 28, 863-889. doi:10.1177/0898264315614005

Shrira, A., Palgi, Y., Bodner, E., & Shmotkin, D. (2016). Which category of lifetime adversity accelerates physical impairment among Israeli older adults? European Journal of Ageing, 13, 323-334. doi:10.1007/s10433-016-0366-3

Shrira, A., Shmotkin, D., Palgi, Y., Hoffman, Y., Bodner, E., Ben-Ezra, M., & Litwin, H. (2017). Older adults exposed to ongoing and intense time-limited missile attacks: Differences in symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes, 80, 64-78. doi:10.1080/00332747.2016.1178028

Ifrah, K., Shenkman, G., & Shmotkin, D. (2018). How does sexual orientation relate to openness to experience along adulthood? Personality and Individual Differences, 131, 164-173. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2018.04.030

Palgi, Y., Shrira, A., Kavé, G., Rubinstien, T., & Shmotkin, D. (2018). Which factors do older adults consider when estimating the time left for them to live? The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences. doi:10.1093/geronb/gby048 [Available online ahead of print]

Shenkman, G., Ifrah, K., & Shmotkin, D. (2018). Meaning in life among middle-aged and older gay and heterosexual fathers. Journal of Family Issues, 39, 2155-2173. doi:10.1177/0192513X17741922

Shenkman, G., Ifrah, K., & Shmotkin, D. (2018). The association between negative attitudes toward aging and mental health among middle-aged and older gay and heterosexual men in Israel. Aging and Mental Health, 22, 503-511. doi:10.1080/13607863.2016.1274374

Shenkman, G., Shrira, A., Ifrah, K., & Shmotkin, D. (2018). Interpersonal vulnerability among offspring of Holocaust survivors gay men and its association with depressive symptoms and life satisfaction. Psychiatry Research, 259, 89-94. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2017.10.017

Shrira, A., Palgi, Y., & Shmotkin, D. (forthcoming). Aging in the shadow of trauma: Meaning in life as a resource for older adults in Israel. In Ofra Mayseless & Pninit Russo-Netzer (Eds.), Search for meaning in the Israeli scene. Oxford University Press.

Works recently completed (submitted / to be submitted for publication):

Avidor, S., & Shmotkin, D.  How does the report on your happiness serve your self? The declarative functions underlying self-reports of subjective well-being.

Ifrah, K., Markovitz, N., Lifshitz, R., Bluvstein, I., & Shmotkin, D.  The amplified relationship between life satisfaction and meaning in life: The case of poverty.

Lifshitz, R., Ifrah, K., Markovitz, N., & Shmotkin, D.  Do past and prospective adversities intersect? Distinct effects of cumulative adversity and the hostile-world scenario on functioning at later life.

Lifshitz, R., Ifrah, K., Markovitz, N., Bluvstein, I., & Shmotkin, D.  Inventory of Complicated Grief: Factor structure among older bereaved parents.

Shenkman, G., Ifrah, K., & Shmotkin, D.  Interpersonal vulnerability and its association with depressive symptoms among gay and heterosexual men.


Updated: December 2018