Presentation on theme: "Chapter 18 Emotional and Social Development in Late Adulthood"— Presentation transcript:
1 Chapter 18 Emotional and Social Development in Late Adulthood
2 Psychology 238 Development Through the Lifespan Chapter 18Emotional and Social Development in Late AdulthoodThe author suggests late adulthood includes a mix of gains and losses – Gaining more free time and time with spouse, losing loved ones, physical abilities and work responsibilities. For most, the good outweighs the bad.
3 Erikson’s Stage for Late Adulthood Ego Integrity vs. Despair“Adults who arrive at a sense of Ego Integrity feel whole, complete, and satisfied with their achievements. They have adapted to the mix of triumphs and disappointments that are an inevitable part of love relationships child rearing, work, and community involvement” (592).Despair occurs when “elders feel they have made many wrong decisions, yet time is too short to find an alternate route to integrity” (593). This sense of despair can include bitterness, anger, defeat, hopelessness and contempt for others.Ego integrity seems to imply feeling satisfied with the way you lived your life and able to accept the changes of late adulthood. The author suggests the capacity to view one’s life in the context of greater humanity is important to integrity.
4 Peck’s Theory: Three Tasks of Ego Integrity The conflict of Ego Integrity vs. Despair includes these three components:Ego differentiation vs. work-role preoccupation: Finding ways to affirm self-worth outside the work role.Body transcendence vs. body preoccupation: Focusing on cognitive and social powers in order to “transcend” physical limitations.Ego transcendence vs. ego preoccupation: Accepting that life is finite by finding ways to contribute to the welfare of future generations.Robert Peck (1968) felt the conflict of Ego Integrity vs. Despair includes the components of:
5 Labouvie-Vief’s Theory: Emotional Expertise In early adulthood, thinking becomes more pragmatic.In late adulthood, emotional abilities expand promoting more effective coping and reflection.Older adults may describe emotions in more complex and personalized ways, and be better able to interpret negative events in a positive light.
6 Reminiscence and Life Review Reminiscence: “Telling stories about people and events from the past and reporting associated thoughts and feelings” (594).Life Review: Occurs when a person “calls up, reflects on, and reconsiders past experiences, contemplating their meaning with the goal of achieving greater self-understanding.” (594).Research suggests that reflecting on the past is positive for psychological well-being and that adults who engage in a life review are more likely to develop a sense of ego integrity (Butler, 1968).Research also suggests that not all adults yearn for the past. In one study (Field, 1997) 30% of older adults suggested that the best part of life is “right now” (594).
7 Stability and Change in Self-Concept and Personality The “Big Five” personality traits remain stable throughout life.The self-concept is more secure and complex in late adulthood.Three shifts in personality take place in late adulthood:Agreeableness-generosity, acquiescence and good naturedness increase in late adulthoodSociability declines slightlyAcceptance of change increasesParticipation in religious activities remains fairly stable throughout adulthood, but may become more meaningful for older adults.A lifetime of experience allows older adults to be more sure of who they are. Older adults are also likely to see themselves as “the same person they have always been.”Note: Table 18.1 page 598: James Fowler’s 1981 Stages of Faith Development. Suggests that over the lifespan, people move from concrete images of God to understanding of many possible belief systems as well as the deeper significance of religious rituals.Low income ethnic minority elders are particularly likely to participate in organized religious activities.Religious involvement is linked to many positive outcomes including social and psychological well-being and even physical functioning (Levin and Chatters, 1998).Women are more likely to participate in all types of religious activities. Their higher likelihood of being in poverty and having caregiving responsibilities may make the social and spiritual support of church activities more essential.
8 Individual Differences in Psychological Well-Being Control vs. Dependency: Older adults are more likely to receive attention for dependent vs. independent actions – (these are known as the “dependency-support script” and the “independence-ignore script.”Health: a powerful predictor of psychological well-being in late adulthood.Negative Life Changes: Older adults are likely to experience more negative life changes than their younger cohorts – though older adults seem better able to deal with them.Social Support and Social Interaction: continue to play a powerful role in reducing stress, thereby promoting physical health and psychological well-being.Social support for its own sake is linked to increased satisfaction; social support in the form of assistance may make older individuals feel dependent and indebted and can even foster depression (Newsom and Schultz, 1998). Therefore, those individuals who do not need assistance with daily activities are likely to find social interaction more satisfying.HOWEVER, we should NOT necessarily encourage elders to be as independent as possible. Dependence can be encouraged for certain tasks to allow the aging person to conserve energy to engage in satisfying and meaningful independent activities (selective optimization with compensation [ch 17]).Declines in health and chronic disease can lead to a sense of loss of personal control and physical illness resulting in disability is among the strongest risk factors for late-life depression (page 600). However, fewer older than young and middle-aged adults are depressed…. The relationship between physical and mental health problems can become a vicious cycle.People age 65 and over have the highest suicide rate of any age group. Helping older adults to maintain control over important areas of their lives can decrease the dependency-support script and increase effective coping skills and a sense of self-efficacy.Older adults’ ability to deal with negative events can be compromised when negative events begin to “pile up.”Re: social interaction: a paid helper may reduce feelings of indebtedness… However, ethnic minority elders are less likely to accept this type of “formal” assistance and more likely to accept help from a neighborhood organization such as the church. Also, having an extroverted personality is related to high morale in old age.
9 Social Theories of Aging Disengagement Theory: Elders “disengage” from society as society “frees them” of responsibilities.Activity Theory: Suggests elders interact less with society because of social barriers to engagement rather than desire.Socioemotional Selectivity Theory: Suggests that with age, the function of social interaction changes.Younger adults are more likely to value gather information and receiving self-affirmation in relationshipsOlder adults value emotion-regulating function of interactionResearch suggests that older adults generally have smaller social networks and engage in a smaller amount of social interaction than younger cohorts – however, they are also likely to be more satisfied with life and less likely to be depressed than younger individuals. Theories attempting to explain this include…Disengagement theory suggests that older individuals decrease their interaction and activity levels just as society is reducing its demands on them. This is viewed as beneficial for both sides. However, not everyone “disengages,” and for those who do, they may not do so because they want to. The relationship seems more complex as elders may disengage from less satisfying ties while maintaining satisfying ones, or keeping those that are not satisfying just to stay “engaged.”A problem with activity theory is that increasing opportunities for interaction does not necessarily increase interaction as most don’t “take advantage” of opportunities AND other research suggests that having a large social network is not necessarily related to happiness (quality not quantity of social interaction is key).Re: socioemotional selectivity theory: older adults are likely to pursue those relationships that promote self concept and emotional equilibrium – meeting new people is likely to challenge these things, whereas interacting with family and familiar friends is likely to promote them.
10 Elder Suicide People 75 and older have the highest suicide rate. Elder men are more likely than women to commit suicide, and elderly white Americans are more likely to commit suicide than ethnic minorities.More elderly vs. younger adults complete suicide. The ratio of attempts to completions for younger adults is 300 to 1; for older adults it is 4 to 1.Losses of all types and chronic or terminal illness involving severe physical pain are risk factors for suicide, particularly for men or socially isolated individuals.Warning signs for elder suicide are similar to those of earlier stages of life and include putting personal affairs in order, dependency, statements about dying, indirect self-destructive acts and sleep and appetite changes.Women’s higher inclination to seek and maintain social support, along with their lower likelihood of using firearms as a suicide method, may explain the gender difference in suicide completion rates.Reported suicide rates for older adults are probably much lower than actual suicide rates for older adults due to less interest in pursuing suicide as a cause of death.Treatment of suicidal ideation for depressed adults include antidepressant medication combined with therapy.Over the last 50 years, youth suicide has increased, but elder suicide has decreased, probably due to improved economic security, medical care and social services as well as more favorable attitudes toward retirement. Other community interventions such as hotlines or home visitors are also effective.
11 The Social Contexts of Aging Half of American ethnic minorities live in inner cities; 1/3 of Caucasian Americans do.Most senior citizens live in suburbs and suburban elders have higher incomes, better health and easier access to social services than inner city elders. However, inner city elders are more likely than small town and rural elders to have these same advantages.Fear of crime may restrict the activities and undermine the morale of adults living in inner cities. Although older adults are less frequently the victim of violent crime, they are more likely to be the victim of purse snatchers or pickpockets.88% of older adults in Western industrialized nations stay in their own homes and neighborhoods where they spent their adult lives.Small town and rural communities may compensate for these deficits by providing close social networks and shared values, as well as lower crime rates.In the US, less than 5% of older adults relocate to new communities for older adulthood. Climate or proximity to family may motivate them to do so.The majority of older adults want to stay in their own homes where they have memories, independence, privacy and an established social network.The number of unmarried or widowed elders living alone has increased substantially over the last 50 years, and 1/3 of older Americans live by themselves; for people over 85, 47% live by themselves. Women are more likely to live by themselves than men.40% of American elders living alone are in poverty and widows comprise the large majority of adults living along. (this rate is five times that of elderly couples). In the US, due to the lack of government support available in other industrialized nations, the feminization of poverty increases with age.8% of American senior citizens live in residential communities including congregate housing (which includes support services and meals) and life care communities (including a range of options from independent living to full nursing care). 5% of 65+ Americans living in nursing homes have the most extreme restriction of autonomy and interaction with people from the outside world predicts their satisfaction.
12 Relationships in Late Adulthood I Social Convoy model: represents social network; people closest to you travel closest; the shifts over time and breaks down for some.Marriage: 1 in every 5 US marriages will survive for 50 years. Marital satisfaction increases from middle to late adulthood, when it is at its peak.Divorce and Remarriage: Only about 1% of adults in late adulthood divorce, although the rate of divorce for people over 65 has increased in recent generations.Widowhood: Widows (male and female) make up 33% of the US elderly population. 50% of women and 15% men over 65 are widowed.Never-Married, Childless Older Adults: 5% of older Americans remain unmarried and childless throughout their lives.Social Convoy model: Marriage: This may be due to increased leisure time together and men’s greater participation in household responsibilities following retirement, as well as greater emotional understanding and conflict resolution skills. Marital dissatisfaction is harder on women than on men.Divorce and Remarriage: older men state they divorce for lack of shared interests and activities; women because of partner’s refusal to communicate or emotional distance. Divorce is more stressful for older adults and may be especially likely for women, who are less likely to remarry after divorce and divorcees are more likely to remarry than widows. See figure 18.3: the gender gap in elder remarriage is much smaller after divorce than after widowhood. When older adults do remarry, their marriages are more stable and have lower divorce rates than those of younger cohorts.Widowhood: Ethnic minorities with higher rates of poverty are more likely to be widowed. Age, personality and social support affect ability to adjust to death of a spouse. Elder individuals tend to adjust better than younger cohorts, probably because death is more expected. Men find it more difficult to adjust to widowhood and are more likely to remarry – possibly because they are less likely to maintain relationships outside the marriage. However, most widows do not differ in psychological well-being or mortality rates from married counterparts.Never-Married, Childless Older Adults: Most develop meaningful alternative relationships and never-married elderly women report a level of life satisfaction equivalent to that of married elders and greater than that of divorcees recently widowed elders. Never married people are also more likely to have relatives living with them.
13 Relationships in Late Adulthood II Siblings: Nearly 80% of US people over 60 have at least one living sibling, most living within 100 miles of each other and having frequent contact.Friendships: Having friends is an especially strong predictor of mental health for the elderly and friendships may be more rewarding than family relationships.Functions: intimacy and companionship, acceptance (particularly for elderly women), links to the larger community, and protection from psychological consequences of loss.CharacteristicsRelationships with adult children: 80% of ever-married adults in the US have living children.Relationships with adult grand children and great-grandchildren: In developed nations, a little over 50% of people over 65 have a grandchild who is at least 18.Siblings: Both men and women consider bonds with sisters to be closer than bonds with brothers and the closer the tie to a sister, the higher the psychological well-being.FriendshipsFunctionsCharacteristic: friendship formation continues throughout life and elders choose friends who age, sex, race, ethnicity and values are like their own. Women are more likely to have intimate friends as well as secondary friends; men depend on their wives and sisters.Relationships with adult children: Over time, parent-to child help declines and child-to-parent help increases. Quality rather than quantity of these interactions predicts satisfaction. Elderly parents expect only moderate support, such as advice from their children, and emotional support is more prominent than practical support.Relationships with adult grand children and great-grandchildren: longitudinal research suggests that contact between grandparents and grand children declines throughout life, although grandparents’ affection for their grandchildren strengthens with age. About 40% of older adults have great-grandchildren.
14 Elder MaltreatmentAbout 1.5 million Americans over 65 are mistreated by people closest to them every year.Four Types:Physical AbusePhysical Neglect(3rd most common)Psychological Abuse (2nd most common)Financial Abuse (most common form).Risk Factors:Dependency of the VictimDependency of the PerpetratorPsychological Disturbance and Stress of the PerpetratorHistory of Family ViolenceInstitutional ConditionsPreventing Elder MaltreatmentIn Australia, Canada, Finland, Great Britain, the Netherlands and US – about 3 to 7% of elders are mistreated every year. Figures are lower in Asian, Hispanic and Native American cultures with strong traditions of respect for and obligation to elders. All figures underestimate the actual incidence of abuse.Often, several types of abuse occur together. Most perpetrators are spouses (usually men) and the perpetrator is usually someone the victim loves, trusts and depends on for care and assistance. The next most likely abusers are children of both sexes, other relatives, friends, neighbors and paid caregivers.Risk Factors:Dependency of the Victim: old, frail and mentally or physically impaired elders are more at risk.Dependency of the Perpetrator: many abusers are dependent, emotionally or financially, on their victims.Psychological Disturbance and Stress of the Perpetrator: perpetrators are more likely to have psychological problems, abuse alcohol or drugs be socially isolated, have problems at work or be unemployed.History of Family ViolenceInstitutional Conditions: elder abuse is more likely to occur in run down nursing homes with staff shortages and overcrowdingPreventing Elder Maltreatment: Prevention programs may offer counseling and education, as well as relief (respite) services for caregivers – or in-home help/ “buddy” systems.
15 Retirement and Leisure The decision to retireAffordability is usually the first considerationGood health, a close relationship between work life and self-esteem and a pleasant work environment predict persistence at a job.Women retire earlier than men, with the exception of women in poverty.Adjustment to retirementFor most people, retirement does not affect mental health.Physical limitation are likely to lead to retirement (rather than the reverse).Leisure activities: Involvement is positively related to psychological well-being.The period of retirement has been expanding, and the distinction between work and retirement has been becoming increasingly blurred. Almost 1/3 of retirees re-enter the work force, most within a year.Most people adjust well to retirement, although 30% report adjustment problems. Work place factors are related to adjustment after retirement.Marital satisfaction tends to increase after retirement.Meaningful leisure activities in older adulthood are usually a continuation of pursuits begun earlier in life. Most older adults do not spend time in activities planned just for them. Only 15% of elders participate in senior center activities near their homes.
16 Factors Predicting Successful Retirement “Relief” from a high stress or unsatisfying job (not missing the work environment!)Especially for women, a continuous work life with consistency between expectations and actual achievementControl over the retirement decisionThe ability to give up the social contacts and predictable schedule of the work environmentHigh quality social supportA high number of leisure activities with a spouse
17 Successful Aging Religious involvement associated with Important components of successful aging (see list, page 619).Successful aging is facilitated by societal contexts such as adequate health care, housing and social services.In the US, the federal government guarantees citizens 60 and over access to a wide variety of services, although not all eligible individuals are able to take advantage of these services.development of new faith capacitiesopenness to other religious perspectivesenlarged vision of common goodReligious involvement associated withbetter physical, psychological well-beingcloseness to family and friendsgreater generativityTheorists disagree on the precise components of successful aging. Recent definitions do not include specific achievements, but include processes people use to reach personally valued goals. Successful aging includes minimizing losses and maximizing gains.