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Chapter 16

Chapter 16 for FALL 2010 semester

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Konstantine Zakzanis

CHAPTER 16: AGING AND PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDERS - most segments of North American society tend to have certain assumptions about old age - in contrast to the esteem in which they are held in most Asian countries, older adults are generally not treated very well in North America, and numerous myths abound - the general public endorses many mistaken beliefs about the elderly; for instance, considerably mythology has surrounded sexuality and aging, the principal assumption being that at the age of 65 sex becomes improper, unsatisfying, and even impossible; however, older people, well into their 80s and beyond, are capable of deriving enjoyment from sexual intercourse and other kinds of lovemaking - the social problems of aging may be especially severe for women - although grey hair at the temples and even a bald head are often considered distinguished in a man, signs of aging in women are not valued in society ageism discrimination against someone because of hisher age - the physical realities of aging are complicated by ageism, which can be defined as discrimination against any person, young or old, based on chronological age - like any prejudice, ageism ignores the diversity among people in favor of employing stereotypes - in any discussion of the differences between the old and the not yet old, the old are usually defined as those over the age of 65; the decision to use this age was set largely by social policies - to have some rough demarcation (separation) points, gerontologists usually divide people over 65 into 3 groups; the young-old, those aged 65-74; the old-old, those aged 75-84; and the oldest- old, those over age 85; the health of these groups differs in important ways Issues, Concepts, and Methods in the Study of Older Adults Diversity in Older Adults - the word diversity is well suited to the older population - not only are older people different from one another, but theyre more different from one another than are individuals in any other age group - people tend to become less alike as they grow older Age, Cohort, and Time-of-Measurement Effects - in the field of aging, as in studies of earlier development, a distinction is made among 3 kinds of effects: age effects are the consequences of being a given chronological age eg: Jewish boys are bar mitzvahed at age 13 cohort effects are the consequences of having been born in a given year and having grown up during a particular time period with its own unique pressures, problems, challenges, and opportunities eg: people who invested money in the stock market in the late 1990s view investments in equities as a reasonably safe and very lucrative place to put their money unlike people who lost a lot of money in the bear markets of the 1930s or late 1960s www.notesolution.com time-of-measurement effects are confounds that arise because events at an exact point in time can have a specific effect on a variable being studied over time eg: time of measurement could affect the results of studies assessing PTSD in Holocaust survivors if one of the assessments occurs shortly after 911 - the 2 major research designs used to assessdevelopmental change are the cross-sectional and the longitudinal - in cross-sectional studies, the investigator compares different age groups at the same moment in time on the variable of interest cross-sectional studies studies in which different age groups are compared at the same time - cross-sectional studies do not examine the same people over time; consequently, they allow us to make statements only about age effects in a particular study or experiment, not about changes over time - in longitudinal studies, the researcher selects one cohort say, the graduating class of 2002 and periodically retests it using the same measure over a number of years longitudinal studies investigation that collects information on the same individuals repeatedly over time, perhaps over many years, in an effort to determine how phenomena change - longitudinal studies allows researchers to trace individual patterns of consistency or change over time cohort effects and to analyze how behavior early in life relates to behavior in old age - however, because each cohort is unique, conclusions drawn from longitudinal studies are restricted to the cohort chosen - an additional problem with longitudinal studies is that participants often drop out as the studies proceed, creating a bias commonly called selective mortality selective mortality a possible confound in longitudinal studies, whereby the less healthy people in a sample are more likely to drop out of the study over time - the least-able people are the most likely to drop out, leaving a nonrepresentative group of people who are usually healthier than the general population - thus, findings based on longitudinal studies may be overly optimistic about the rate of decline of a variable such as sexual activity over the lifespan Diagnosing and Assessing Psychopathology in Later Life - the DSM-IV-TR criteria for older adults are basically the same as those for younger adults - the nature and manifestations of mental disorders are usually assumed to be the same in adulthood and old age, even though little research supports this assumption - a measure of cognitive functioning is often included as standard practice in research to determine whether the elderly respondent has experienced declines in cognitive ability - researchers often assesscognitive functioning with the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) in its original or modified form (i.e., the Modified Mini-Mental State Exam) - the MMSE is a brief measure of an individuals cognitive state, assessing orientation, memory, and attention,.. ability to name, follow verbal and written commands, write a sentence spontaneously, and copy a complex polygon - because some elderly people will have diminished attention spans, one goal is to develop short www.notesolution.com
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