Continuing of Lecture 5 Last slide
Models of Health Behavior Change
Health belief models - Predict and explain behavior by focusing on individual attitudes.
- In general these theories suggests individuals can make changes that can address health issues
o E.g. Modifications to Di
- Self-Efficacy Model: based on social cognition theories
o Basic idea regarding about health is, people change their health behaviors by setting
goals, using incentives and rewards by engaging socially with others and individuals are
capable in making change within their life.
o Changes should be incremental, small changes, slowly and steadily.
- Self-Regulation Model: based on motivational characteristics of an individual
o Individual sets the goal by themselves, monitors own progress and sets own system of
o Progress be encouraged by someone outside that offers support, but the goals and
individual behaviors will be dictated by the individual.
Lately influenced by personal history and by individual social influences
Lecture 6 Theoretical Perspectives on Aging
What does it mean to Age?
- More experience, Wiser, maturation
o Accumulating knowledge and exposure to stimuli.
- Susceptibility to disease
- Some people would related to more physical: wrinkles
- Stronger versus Weak – getting stronger early in the live course
o E.g. bones get stronger till 30 and declines
- Can be thought of as a set of lenses for viewing actions and interactions
- To help us make sense of what we observe
- Can be used to help a researcher choose his or her research methods, questions, and the sample
to focus on
- To construct explicit explanations that account for empirical findings
- Starting point for research is to look at what theories are out there, that are relevant to ideas the
researcher has that want to study.
- Think of theory as creating a structure that helps explain why things happen the way they do
- Theories are based on pre-existing ideas and can be tested and re-proven
Theory vs. Other aspects of knowledge development
1. Statements describing regularities detected in the process of systematic observations
2. Prototypical models are formed which attempt to depict how empirical generalizations are related
to each other
3. Empirical generalizations and models are accumulated and use to form theories
Theory in Gerontology
- Early gerontologists looked for conceptual frameworks that might explain human aging by looking
at popular and ancient models (e.g. Bible, stories)
o E.g. ook at individual factors like well-being, differences in what makes us happy.
- In gerontology, no one theory can explain all the facts about aging
o Over 300 theories that try to explain the phenomenon of aging
- Researchers often use a combination of theoretical perspectives to gain a fuller understanding of
their research topic
o Multiple theories to fit in a sense of how the world works
o Often use theory to help disentangle the effects of history, biology, social life in aging
o Gerontology a multi-disciplinary field, that draws on a range of different theoretical
perspective. Two Levels of Theory
- Micro-level theories = focus on individuals and their interactions with one another, family, social
o E.g. looking at the effect of negative stereotype on a aging individual’s self-esteem
- Macro-level theories = examine social structures or how social elements influence behaviors and
o E.g. Looking at how health care system in Canada compared to the US
Anthropology seeks to understand human existence in geographic space and evolutionary time
- Geographic space e.g. non developed countries and developing countries
- Deals with the origin and diversity of humanity
- Study of mankind from its beginning from a million years ago to current day
4 main subfields
1. Social cultural
- Comparisons across time and cultures are central to the discipline
- Age as a cultural construct
o Ideas like older adulthood like childhood is a culturally constructed time period. It’s a
period that we associate it with different roles and have different types of demands that
we associate it to
o Idea that characteristics that people attribute to social characteristics like gender, illness,
death can be defined culturally and they are not biologically defined. Therefore they are
o fieldwork and participant observation
o research observe people in their natural environment as opposed to having them go into
a research laboratory.
o E.g. example related to gerontology would be looking at cultural change and how that
affected people within a certain geographic region.
- Contributed to findings such as:
o The killing of frail elderly was not rare (Simmons 1945)
• within certain cultures, it is difficult to get evidence for this, but with getting into
environment and talking, it’s easier.
o Elders provided education by sharing knowledge in the Kalahari Desert in the absence of
formal teachers and schools (Shostak 1981)
• Girls not allowed into schools
• It was the elders who served as teachers to help provide schooling for the girls.
Anthropological Perspectives on Aging
- Early theoretical formulations linked the marginalization of older people to modernization
- More current frameworks are informed by:
o Contexts in which older adults live, may vary by specific regional OR
o Special populations - small demographic subset of the population. E.g. homosexuals in
o Complexity and heterogeneity of difference experiences
• E.g. differences among a subset groups
o Emphasizes in Cultural context
Age versus Aging
- Theories about age explain cultural and social phenomena
o How age is used in the regulation of social life and negotiation of daily living - Theories about aging are theories about living, the changes experienced during the life course,
and the interdependencies throughout life among the different generations
o Focus on the outcome that happens in later life, they will draw on experiences that
happen in the earlier in the life course
o E.g. looking at socioeconomic status throughout life course.
• Looked at early indication in early life – education, entertainment
• Later indications in older adult life – wealth
Cultural Conceptions of Time and Age
In Anthropology perspective we can distinguish the following
- Relative time – things, events, are ordered in time but we don’t have a precise measurement or
o E.g. we can say that a person is older or younger than someone else when you have
sense of temporal order, but we don’t get specific. We have sequencing but we don’t
know by how much older between them.
- Absolute time - involves measurement and is the imposition of culture on natural regularities
o Clocks, calendars, we can measure.
o E.g. We have temporal orders of time zone, but there are regions in the world that still
don’t follow the imposed temporal order.
Relative Age Absolute Age
Informal knowledge of Age Age-ambiguous Age-aware
Formal knowledge of Age Age-forced contexts Age-explicit
- Age-ambiguous: in these types of society, there’s no way to say how old someone is
o Sense of time is relative e.g. people within this culture will not have watches. They might
use the moon/sun the passing of the day
o Some knowledge of age and time that is informal and relative
- Age-forced contexts: societies that are formally age-ambiguous and were forced to take on
o Growing up with informal knowledge and relative age, but never given specific
birthday/age. E.g. places that are colonialized.
- Age-aware: we do have a notion of absolute age. Use of calendar and how old someone is, but
it is informal e.g. not recorded in the government documents
- Age-explicit: places like Canada, we can answer exactly how someone is and the society has
o Also have cultural expectations that one should do when one ages
Culture and Age Structuring
- cultural contexts
o Culture gives meaning to time and age; it provides people knowledge how to use time.
What they should be doing at a certain age.
- life courses,
- age structuring
- How a society organizes the interdependency between people of the same and different ages is
the structuring of the life course as individuals pass through that society from birth to death
Problems of Aging
- Across time and cultures, for most of humanities existence old age has not been a society wide
problem, but considered more a family problem
- Since humans have been able to sustain long lives physically and culturally, old age has had its
Aging - Aging involves complex interactions among biological, environmental, and cultural domains
Biological Perspectives on Aging
- Nature and Nurture.
o Aging is inevitable consequence of accumulative ware and tare. As we age we get lots of
experiences, and we also get injuries, infection and issues that causes us to age
o Suggests that our lifespan is largely determined at the moment of conception, the genes
we inherit. Best evidences of genetic theories are the differences of aging between
species in terms of lifespan.
• E.g. Maximum lifespan of fly 30 days, humans 120 years, mouse 4 years.
• Know the differences betw