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Chapter 25 & Epilogue. Psychosocial Development in Late Adulthood + Death and Dying. Michael Hoerger. Psychosocial Theories of Late Adulthood. Integrity vs. Despair (Erikson): mortality leads one to reflect on life and feel complete or incomplete Selective optimization

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chapter 25 epilogue

Chapter 25& Epilogue

Psychosocial Development inLate Adulthood


Death and Dying

Michael Hoerger

psychosocial theories of late adulthood
Psychosocial Theories of Late Adulthood
  • Integrity vs. Despair (Erikson): mortality leads one to reflect on life and feel complete or incomplete
  • Selective optimization
  • Disengagement theory: as social sphere dwindles, passes on the torch and withdraw
  • Activity theory: social involvement is important, withdrawal only occurs due to ageism
Continuity theory: changes occur in late adulthood, but people generally behave in the same way as earlier in life
  • All theories have some weight
  • Hospice care: palliative care for terminally ill patients
  • Palliative care: medical care designed to relieve physical and emotional pain rather than cure illness
  • Double effect
  • Legal right of competent (mentally sound) people to refuse treatment
  • Passive euthanasia: letting one die by removing interventions that would prolong life
  • Active euthanasia: taking action to cause death
    • Physician-assisted suicide



ethical dilemmas
Ethical Dilemmas
  • 3 years of painful, terminal cancer, costing $100,000 year. Adjustment in medication accidentally leads heart to stop. Resuscitate?
  • Diagnosed with neurological disorder that will lead to intense pain, inability to feed oneself or go to the bathroom on own, will die in 2 months. Physician-assisted suicide?
  • After years in a coma, diagnosed with a permanent vegetative state (brain dead). Physician-assisted suicide?
  • Living will (document) or health care proxy (person) can be designated to make decisions if one is unable to do so
  • Bereavement: normative sense of loss following death
  • Grief: emotional reaction to bereavement
  • Mourning: traditions related to bereavement
  • Disenfranchised grief: excluding some people from mourning ceremonies
Michael Hoerger

To cite this textbook:

  • Berger, K. (2005). The developing person through the lifespan. New York: Worth.

To cite this lecture:

  • Hoerger, M. (2007, April 18). Developmental Psychology: Late Adulthood Psychosocial Development and Death. Presented at a PSY 220 lecture at Central Michigan University.