Textbook Notes - Chapter 18

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Family Relations and Human Development
FRHD 1010
Triciavan Rhijn

Chapter 18 – Late Adulthood: Social and Emotional Development Evaluate various theories of social and emotional development in late adulthood • Erik Erithon’s Psychosocial theory and offshoots th o 8 stage – ego integrity or despair (Erikson’s 8 life crisis, defined by maintenance of the belief that life is meaningful and worthwhile despite physical decline and the inevitability of death vs. depression and hopelessness. o maintain belief that life is meaningful and worthwhile despite physical decline and inevitability of death; requires wisdom to let go (accumulated relationship and things) • Robert Peck’s Developmental Tasks o Amplified Erikson’s theory, 3 tasks people face  Ego differentiation vs. work-role preoccupaton – look for new things to do (volunteer)  Body transcendence vs. body preoccupation – physical decline  Ego transcendece vs. ego preoccupation – as death draws nearer, securing future of children and grandchildren, work in the church, environmentalism  Daniel Levinson – people realize they have more to look back on than forward to • Disengagement theory – the view that older adults and society withdraw from one another as older adults approach death – theory probably not very accurate • Activity theory – the view that older adults fare better when they engage in physical and social activities • Socioemotional selectivity theory – the view that we place increasing emphasis on emotional experience as we age but limit our social contacts to regulate our emotions (development of older adults’ social networks). As we age we are more focused on emotionally fulfilling experiences, limiting social contacts to a few individuals who are of major importance (not implying antisocial), don’t want to involve themselves in painful social interactions. Carstensen and her colleagues also note that older people’s perceived limitation on future time increases their appreciation for life, which brings out positive emotions. Discuss psychological development in late adulthood, focusing on self-esteem and maintaining independence Various psychological issues affect older adults, including self-esteem and the factors that contribute to self-esteem in late adulthood. Self-esteem, as we will see, is tied to both independence and dependence. Also, the psychological problems of depression and anxiety can affect us at any age, but they warrant special focus in late adulthood. • Self-Esteem o Richard Robins and colleagues recruited 300,000 for questionnaire; self- esteem of males was higher than that of females; self-esteem was highest in childhood and dipped into adolescence; self-esteem rose throughout middle adulthood and declined in late adulthood (ages 70-85) o Robins and Trzesniewski suggestions in drop in self-esteem: life changes (retirement, loss of partner, reduced social support, declining health, decline in socio-economic status) or older people are wiser and more content o Erikson, ego transcendence, people accept themselves as they are at that age and no longer need to inflate their self-esteem o Express less ‘body esteem’ (pride in appearance and functioning of bodies); men accumulate fat around middle, women around the hips; sexual arousal problems distress men • Independence vs. dependence o Being able to care for oneself appears to be a core condition of successful aging. Sensitive issue around toileting – effects self-esteem • Psychological problems o Depression – 10% of people aged 65+, can be related to personality factor of neuroticim, structural changes in the brain, genetic predisposition to imbalances. Looking at links between depression and physical illnesses (Alzheimers, heart diseas, stroke, Parkinsons, cancer). Associated with loss of friends and loved ones; mental disorder that goes around sadness or bereavement. Often goes undetected and untreated – masked: low energy, loss of appetite, insomnia; associated with memory lapses and cognitive impairment (concentration). Untreated – suicide, not uncommon among older people. o Anxiety disorders  3% of those 65+, coexist with depression in 8-9%; women twice as likely affected than men. Most common: generalized anxiety and phobic disorders; panic disorder is rare. Can be harmful to older people’s physical health; mild tranquilizers quell anxiety in older adults; psychological interventions (cognitive-behaviour therapy)  Generalized anxiety disorder – general feelings of dread and foreboding  Phobic disorders – irrational, exaggerated fear of an object or situation  Panic disorder – recurrent experiencing of attacks of extreme anxiety in the absence of external stimuli that usually evoke anxiety  Agoraphobia – fear of open, crowded place In 2004, Canadians volunteer about 2 billion hours. The average number of hours volunteered increases with age. Ages 15-24 average 63 hrs per year, 65+ average 111 hrs. Discuss the social contexts in which people age, focusing on housing, religion, and family People do not age within a vacuum, but within social and communal contexts, including their living arrangements, facilities and services within their communities, religious affiliations, and family and social relationships. • Communities and housing for older people o There’s no place like home, stay as long as they can. Changes in family composition, increases in expenses, mental and physical health affect the decision. o Older adults may be reluctant to relocate to nursing homes because nursing homes signify the loss of independence. o When relocation is necessary, social networks tend to be disrupted; challenged to find new friends and create new networks o Fear – frightening stories of what happens in nursing homes • Religion o Involves beliefs and practices centred on claims about the nature of reality and moral behaviour, usually codified as rituals, religious laws, and prayers. o Religion involves worship, participating in social, educational and charitable activities – social networking o Appeal to those approaching end of life, allowing them to focus on spiritual “substance” like the soul • Family and social relationships o Most important elements in social
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