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Psych 357 Ch 14.docx

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PSYC 357
Dagmar Bernstein

Psych 357 Ch 14 (Successful aging and creativity) • Theoretical perspectives on successful aging: o Want to understand factors that contrib. To ability of older indiv to survive o Successful aing involves additional quality of enhancing the healthy spirit and sense of joy seen in older adults who seem to transcend physical limitations  Sometimes synonymous with Mental health (qualities thought to be desirable for optimal adaptation, ie positive outlook and greater self understanding, also part of successful aging) o MacArthur Foundation Study of Aging in America:  3 interactive components= absence of disease and its associated disability, maintaining high cognitive and physical function (gives indiv ptl to be active and competent) and “Engagement w/life” (involvement in productive activity and involvement w/other ppl) o Continue to emphasize point that to age successfully you have to NOT DIE • Must be able to compensate for variety of challenges to mental and phsycial health o Also need social support and involvement of others (for coping?)  Tho ppl often tend to see happy and productive older ppl as anomalies (has avoided expected state of gloom and despair we think of normal in aging process)  Cognitive functioning is preserved in most adults o Social indicator model= demographic and social structural variables (age, income, marital status, gender) account for indiv differences in levels of well being  Ppl believe in this as reason that most ppl think of successful ager as “exception”  Think taht b/c older ppl more disadvantaged they should be less happy  Most older ppl manage to maintain relatively high levels of well being (paradox of well being) • Despite objective difficulties ppl in later life feel good about selves and situations (so successful aging norm not exception according to data) • Most older ppl rate selves as pretty/very happy, as well as rating physical health as good to excellent (despite aging being associated w/number of physical issues) • Subjective wellbeing: indiv’s overall sense of happiness (in research is divided into positive affect, negative affect and life satisfaction- cognitive evaluation of one’s life circumstances) o MIDUS study (Midlife in the US Survey) found that older adults felt selves as successful agers (based on positive affect)  Personality played role tho- extraverted men throughout life higher levels of wellbeing o Set point perspective= notion that well being reflects personality traits  Biologically determined temperament sets boundaries for levels of well being we experience thru life  Extraverts advantage b/c see world as more positive regardless of actual circumstances o Adaptation/habituation= psychological mechanism theorized to be used by ppl to maintain wellbeing in face of objectively negative circumstances  Learn to adjust  Certain negative life events can be adapted to thru kind of habituation process even though each of us may have higher or lower set points o Extent to which experiences are consistent w/our goals provides another source for the basis of subjective wellbeing  If reach goals, feel better about self, more satisfied w/life  Study found that ppl who set goals for themselves midlife were most likely to have high goals in later adulthood (esp if they valued having a rich cultural life and contributing to society)  We may alter views of our life circumstances thru problem focused and emotion focused coping • Religion and physical ability related to coping resources • Cultures/nations vary in norms/expectations for experiencing emotions o Social comparison (active adaptational process)= look at situations of others who are more unfortunate than we are and comfort selves with thought that things could be much worse o Socioemotional selectivity theory= regulation of affect another mechanism to maintain positive outlook on life  Ability to regulate affect good for improved feelings of wellbeing later in life  Older adults find ways to maximize feelings of happiness by focusing on positive features of their rlnshps o Positive rlnshps contribute to wellbeing- if feel you have high social support more likely to have higher feelings of subjective wellbeing and more positive evalution of quality of life  Not only number of ppl in social network but quality of rlnshps that affects wellbeing  Older adults who value ocial participation tend to maintain consistent level of activity over time, as long as health permits, and tend to become involved in variety of activities  Concern for family and sense of responsibility adaptive  Some ppl just more determined to overcome adversity and maintain quality of life o Identity processes:  Thru identity assimilation ppl may place positive interpretation on what might otherwise cause them to feel like they’re not accomplishing desired objectives  Life story= process where we develop narrative view of our lives and emphasize positive • Identity assimilation example b/c alters how we interpret evetns that might otherwise take away from our self esteem • Productivity and creativity: o Older adults find ways to maintain subjective wellbeing o The rlnshp b/w age and creativity: Early studies:  Creativity= ability to produce notable or extraordinary piece of work  Challenges of the stereotype that creativity primarily in youth  Lehman’s analysis of major figures and saw most productivity b/w 30-35 (tho this varies by discipline) • Earlier peaks in sciences and field where success dependent on intellectual imagination and physical ability (Planck hypothesis where young scientists have more innovative ideas) • Later peaks in fields that rely on experience and diplomact o Writing of “best books”  Dennis: • Although steep decline after peak age in arts, and somewhat less so in sciences, productivity in terms of scholarship maintained at steady rate thru later adulthood (even slight peak at 60s) • Didn’t look at quality of productions (while Lehman did)- only quantity  Summarize Dennis and Lehman= rapid increase in creative output that reac
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