FRHD 1010 Chapter Notes - Chapter 18: Dementia, Midlife Crisis, Phobia

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Late Adulthood: Social and Emotional Development
-Troubling emotions such as depression and anxiety tend to decline as
we age, whereas positive emotions tend to remain fairly steady
-As a whole, older Canadians are equally as happy as younger
Theories of Social and Emotional Development
Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory and Offshoots
-Labeled his 8th and final stage of life, the stage of ego integrity or
-Believed that people who achieved positive outcomes to earlier life
crises would be more likely to obtain ego integrity than despair in
Ego Integrity Vs. Despair:
-Basic challenge is to maintain the belief that life is meaningful and
worthwhile despite physical decline and the inevitability of death
-Ego integrity derives from wisdom and the acceptance of one’s
lifespan being limited (requires the wisdom to let go)
Robert Peck’s Developmental Tasks
-Amplified Erikson’s stage of ego integrity vs. despair by outlining 3
developmental tasks that people face in late adulthood
1. Ego differentiation vs. work-role preoccupation-people need
to find new ways of defining self-worth once they retire (e.g.
community, spirituality etc)
2. Body transcendence vs. body preoccupation- people face
inevitable physical decline therefore it’s important to focus on other
traits such as cognitive or social abilities
3. Ego transcendence vs. ego preoccupation- preparing in some
way to go beyond the physical limitations of one’s lifespan (e.g. help
offspring, community)
The Life Review
-Daniel Levinson theorized that one aspect of the “midlife crisis” was
that people realized they had more to look back on than to look
forward to
-Reminiscence was once considered a symptom of dementia, but
contemporary researchers consider it to be a normal aspect of aging
-Although the life reviews people reminisce upon may not be
completely valid, it gives them an attempt to make life meaningful
Disengagement Theory
-The view that older adults and society withdraw from one another as
older adults approach death (Book states theory is probably not that
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-Alternatively, the author argues that well-being among older adults is
generally predicted by pursuing goals rather than withdrawal
Activity Theory
-The view that older adults fare better when they engage in physical
and social activities
-Research shows that physical activity is associated with a lower
mortality rate in late adulthood
Socio-emotional Selectivity Theory
-The view that we place increasing emphasis on emotional experience
as we age but limit our social contacts to regulate our emotions
Psychological Development
Richard Robins recruited over 300,000 individuals for an online
questionnaire on self-esteem and discovered that generally the
self esteem of males is higher than females
Self-esteem was highest in childhood and dipped in adolescence
Self-esteem then rose gradually throughout middle-adulthood
and declined late in adulthood with most of the decline between
the ages of 75 and 85 (could be because people accept
themselves for who they are and no longer need to inflate their
self esteem)
People report less body esteem as they age, with older men
expressing less body esteem than older women
Older adults with poor body esteem tend to withdraw from
sexual activity which frustrates their partner
Independence Vs. Dependence
- Being able to care for oneself is a core condition of successful aging
-Those who are dependent on others tend to worry more about aging
and encountering physical disabilities and stress
-Independence in toileting is especially important in enabling older
people to avoid a loss of their self-esteem
Psychological Problems
-Affects some 10% of people aged 65 and older
-Depression in older people can be either a continuation of depression
from earlier periods in life, or a new development
-Can be related to neuroticism, possible structure changes in the brain
and genetic predisposition to imbalances of the neurotransmitter
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