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Theories of Aging

by: Jenny Dixon
Jenny Dixon
GPA 3.8

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Theories of Aging
Families in Later Life
Class Notes
theories, Of, aging
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jenny Dixon on Sunday September 4, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CDFS 4390 at Middle Tennessee State University taught by TBA in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see Families in Later Life in Child Development and Family Studies at Middle Tennessee State University.

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Popular in Child Development and Family Studies


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Date Created: 09/04/16
Ch. 3 Notes Families in Later Life 8/29/16 “Theories of Aging” >Origins of Social Gerontology: -Separate field in 1930’s during Great Depression -Early researchers saw old age as a period of inevitable physical and mental decline -Main concern was the well-being of the aged >Personal Adjustment in Old Age (1949): -Large study: Aging among white middle class, men and women over 60 and published in a book. -A decline in age was not inevitable -Poor adjustment was correlated with a lack of activity -People who continued to lead active and productive lives remained well-adjusted in old age. >Kansas City Study of Adult Life: -Emphasis of adjustment with measures of social role performance across life span. >Disengagement Theory: -First formal theory of aging (g. 48) -Proposed in 1961 by Cumming and Henry -Normal aging involves a natural and inevitable process of disengagement. -Results in decreasing interaction between aging persons and social systems. -Process is universal and inevitable >Activity Theory: -Believed the person who aged optimally managed to stay active -Successful aging to active aging >Disengagement vs Activity Theory: -Social gerontologists no longer view the withdrawal of older people from social roles and social interaction as normal aging. -Disengagement theory is associated with changes that make it difficult for people to remain active. -Widowhood, poor health… >Continuity Theory: - A more formal elaboration of activity theory, using a life course perspective to define normal aging. -Emphasizes that the personality plays a role in adjustment to aging, and it is continuous. -Definition of “normal aging” is controversial. >Subculture Theory: 1 -Proposed by Arnold Rose -Based on idea that older people share common interests, role changes, generational experiences, and are excluded by younger people. -Similar interests, concerns, and friendships -Within elderly subculture high status: Good physical and mental health >Exchange Theory: -Basic theory is that social interaction between individual is based on rational calculations. -People seek to maximize their rewards from those exchanges and minimize their costs. -Resources are often unequal, and actors will continue to engage in exchanges only as long as benefits outweigh costs. -Interaction between old and young decrease because older have less to give. >Criticisms of Exchange Theory: -Fails to recognize distinction between immediate and deferred exchange strategies - Exchanges take place over life course - >Social Constructionism: -Views human beings as active creators of their own social realty. -Studies how social meanings of age, self-conceptions of age once through negotiation and discourse. -Older people ARE active participants in society. >Modernization Theory: - “Golden Age” of aging: Old were few in number, held great power and authority in community and family. -Modernization declined this prestigious status. >Age Stratification Theory: -Matilda White Riley-Pioneer -Analyzes relationship between age and social structure -All societies group people into social categories. -Social identity: -Age -Wealth -Gender -Race >4 Questions (IMPORTANT: Pg. 62): -How does the individual’s location in changing age structure of society influence behavior and attitudes? - How do the individuals relate to each other within and between age strata? - How do individuals pass through key transitions? -What is the impact of society as a whole? 2 >Political Economy Theories: -Concerned with structural influences on aging. -Emphasize relevance of social struggles embedded in power relationships for understanding has aged are defined and treated. -Political and economic forces distribute societal resources in ways that maintain/increase inequality on basis of class, race, or gender. >Feminist Theories: -Gender relations are main subject matter -Pay -Familial responsibilities - A theory can be classified as feminist if: Gender relations are main subject matter, if notions of masculinity and femininity are seen as socially constructed, and if emphasis is placed on different ways aging is experienced by men and women. >Critical Gerontology: -Forces of globalization affect policies and programs for aged and their daily lives. -Research has been based on uncritical reliance on images form pop culture and outdated theories. 3


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