Theoretical perspectives on aging chapter 2 part 2
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Theoretical Perspectives on Aging Chapter 2 Part 2. HPR 452. Assumptions of Personal Experience Theories Later life is characterized by Severing of social ties Loss of social opportunities Greater demands for adaptation. Summary of Part 1.

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Theoretical Perspectives on Aging Chapter 2 Part 2

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Theoretical perspectives on aging chapter 2 part 2

Theoretical Perspectives on AgingChapter 2 Part 2

HPR 452


Summary of part 1

  • Assumptions of Personal Experience Theories

    • Later life is characterized by

      • Severing of social ties

      • Loss of social opportunities

      • Greater demands for adaptation

Summary of Part 1


Social factors shaping the experience of later life

  • Social factors are processes of socialization, stratification, social system-level as influential on the experience of later life

  • The 3 theories in this part consider how persons enter and exit various roles, how certain roles are distributed based on age and the process of modernization occurring in society which create changes in status of “old age”

Social Factors Shaping the Experience of Later Life


Socialization to old age

  • Transition from one social position to another

  • Status sequences – Distinctive patterns of activity, responsibility, authority, and privilege

  • Entail

    • Rites of Passage

    • Social Gains

    • Role Continuity

Socialization to Old Age


Process of socialization to old age

  • Socialization is the process of “learning and adopting social roles”

  • Social integration is the basis for high quality life

  • 3 conditions for socialization

    • Have knowledge of expected actions in new role

    • Ability to perform the actions adequately

    • Sufficient motivation to adopt the new role and associated behaviors

Process of Socialization to Old Age


Difficulties with meeting socialization criteria

  • Criteria 1

    • The only consistently identified role for aging adults is intergenerational family

    • This leaves them traditionally “roleless” outside the family

    • Therefore, norms of expected knowledge of roles is difficult to ascertain

  • Criteria 2

    • Again, no norms outside family roles – They don’t lack the skills but they don’t have the knowledge of what is expected

Difficulties with meeting socialization criteria


Theoretical perspectives on aging chapter 2 part 2

  • So no criteria to judge ability

  • Criteria 3

    • Problem in industrialized society – high tech

    • Older individuals don’t generally have the skills

    • Younger generations don’t depend on older generations due to increasing independence

    • Little motivation to adopt old age roles because of the relatively low social status


  • Outcomes of socialization to old age

    • Social Integration – 3 Factors

      • Integrated as far as social values with younger generation

      • Central roles (employee, spouse) may be lost which results in decreased integration

      • Given the loss of social roles, group membership reduction reduces integration

    Outcomes of Socialization to Old Age


    Age stratification theory

    • Nature and process of one’s location and change in the age structure of society

    • Age strata – groupings, based on age, that are recognized in society (in US childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle age, and old age)

    • Roles are stratified through criteria that open or close roles to certain ages

    Age Stratification Theory


    Theoretical perspectives on aging chapter 2 part 2

    • Individuals move forward across time and upward in age strata

    • Social policy and social structure affect the aging population: ie. medical care, retirement benefits, transportation and food stamps – often create inequity

    • Aging individuals are changing and so is society around them


    Theoretical perspectives on aging chapter 2 part 2

    • Cohorts cannot grow up and grow old in the same way – Generations differ from those before them and those after them

    • We must understand an individual’s history, their age strata and the impact of that history on roles, values, and beliefs of cohorts to understand how aging is experienced


    Modernization theory

    • Premise – status of older people declines with increasing modernization and they lose prestige and power as their ability to compete declines

    • 4 changes accompanying modernization that affect older people

      • Technological advances in health

      • Application of scientific technology to economic production and distribution

    Modernization Theory


    Theoretical perspectives on aging chapter 2 part 2

    • Urbanization

    • Literacy and mass education

  • Younger generations are better educated, taking jobs which require specialized training, being mobile, “doing better” than their parents, being more independent, less dependent on older generations and decreasing the need for expertise of older adults


  • Life course perspective

    • Assumptions

      • People’s histories influence personality and attitudes

      • Modern life course has “accepted stages” (school, work, marriage, child-rearing, retirement, etc)

      • Outcomes of earlier life experiences can persist and influence later life experience

    Life Course Perspective


    Gerodynamics

    • With increasing age comes increasing variability (differential aging)

    • There is a wide range of individual differences in the rate and manner of aging at all levels of analysis – biological, psychological and social

    Gerodynamics


    Selective optimization with compensation soc

    • Individuals seek to maximize gains and minimize losses (which is the definition of successful aging)

    • Selection – Narrowing the range of activities to a smaller set being able to focus energy and effort on fewer activities

    • Optimization – Optimize engagement in a more limited set by using abilities at highest level possible

    Selective Optimization with Compensation (SOC)


    Theoretical perspectives on aging chapter 2 part 2

    • Compensation – Alternative ways to reach desired goals once losses are experienced (increased effort, prosthetic devices, etc)

    • Requires active decision-making and assumption that individuals make rational decisions and choices

    • Places the responsibility on the individual to successfully negotiate aging


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