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PSYC 3490 (60)
Chapter 1

Adult Development and Aging - Chapter One - textbook notes

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PSYC 3490
Laurie Mc Nelles

Chapter One: Studying Adult Development and Aging  Perspectives on Adult Development and Aging  Gerontology: the scientific study of aging from maturity through old age  Ageism: form of discrimination against older adults based on their age  The Life-Span Perspective: appreciating and understanding what came in childhood and adolescence in order to understand adult experiences  Life-span perspective divides human development into two phases: 1. Early Phase – young child and young adult 2. Later Phase – young adult, middle age and old age  Four features (Paul Baltes – 1987) 1. Multi-directionality – development involves both growth and decline; as people grow in one area they lose in another area 2. Plasticity – skills can be learnt or improved, even later on in life; although there are limits to the degree of potential improvements 3. Historical Context – birth time and culture determine our development circumstances 4. Multiple Causation – development is shaped by biological, psychological, socio-cultural and life cycle forces o Bates argues that the life-span development consists no dynamic interaction between – growth, maintenance and loss regulation  There is an age-related reduction in the amount and quality of biologically based resources as people grow older  There is an age-related increase in the amount and quality of culture needed to generate continuously higher growth  There is an age-related decline in the efficiency with which cultural resources are used  There is a lack of cultural, “old-age friendly” support structures  The Demographics of Aging  Numbers of old age adults increased dramatically during 20th century because of better health care and lowering of women’s mortality during childbirth  Population Trends Around the World  “Oldest” area of world will continue to be Europe  “Youngest” area will continue to be Africa  Implications of Population Shifts o Main reason countries are “aging” due to lower birthrate o With decreasing birthrate comes shrinking supply of workers (and consumers) o Increase in older adults presents multiple problems in health system  The Diversity of Older Adults  Older women out-number older men in all ethnic groups in Canada  Better educated people tend to live longer  Issues in Studying Adult Development and Aging  Forces of Development: 1. Biological Forces – all genetic and health related factors o Menopause o Facial wrinkling o Changes in major organ systems 2. Psychological Forces – all internal, perceptual, cognitive, emotional and personality factors o characteristics are unique to individuals and are noticeable 3. Socio-cultural Forces – contexts in which we develop o interpersonal, societal, cultural and ethnic 4. Life-cycle Forces – some force (from the above that were stated) or combination of forces affect people at different points in their life  Each person is a product of the interaction of ALL the forces! = Person’s Developmental Experience Biological Force  Life Cycle = PERSON Psychological Force   Socio-cultural Force   Interrelations Between the Forces: Developmental Influences  There are 3 sets influences that interact to produce developmental change over the life-span: 1. Normative Age-Graded Influences: experiences caused by biological, psychological and socio-cultural; correlated with chronological age o Usually indicate a major change in a person’s life; ex. Menopause o Major time marker events o These event provide the most convenient way to judge where we are on our social clock 2. Normative History-Graded Influences: events that most people in a specific culture experience at the same time o Can be psychological, biological or socio-cultural o Ex. Baby boomers, generation X, echo boomers 3. Non-Normative Influences: random or rare events that may be important for a specific individual but not experienced by most people o Can be favourable events (winning lottery) or unfavourable events (getting in an accident) o These events change a person’s life – they are unpredictable events  The forces of development have important implications or differences that are age related  Controversies in Development  Four main issues: 1. Nature versus nurture – the extent to which inborn heredity characteristics (nature) and experimental/environmental (nurture) make up what we are o Both factors must be together t
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