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Psychology 203 Human Development. Psychosocial Development in Late Adulthood (Chapter 18). Big Five Traits Model. N=neuroticism E=extraversion O=openness to experience A=agreeableness C=conscientiousness. Theory and Research Stability of Personality Traits.

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Psychology 203 human development l.jpg

Psychology 203 Human Development

Psychosocial Development


Late Adulthood

(Chapter 18)

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Big Five Traits Model



O=openness to experience



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Theory and ResearchStability of Personality Traits

  • Costa and McCrae research (1996) suggest only two traits may change

    • Increase in Agreeableness

    • Decrease in Extraversion

  • Hostile people will remain Hostile

  • Optimistic people will remain optimistic

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Theory and ResearchStability of Personality Traits

  • Contrary beliefs

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Ego Integrity versus despair

  • Erikson’s eighth and final stage of development a person either achieve a sense of integrity of the self or yield to despair

    • Integrity – Accepting the lives they have lived and accept death

    • Despair – Their lives cannot be relived.

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Models of CopingAdaptive Defenses

  • Adaptive defenses may be unconscious or intuitive

    • Altruism

    • Humor

    • Suppression (keeping a stiff upper lip)

    • Anticipation (planning for the future)

    • Sublimation (turning lemons into lemonade)

  • Independent of IQ, education and social class

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Models of CopingCognitive-Appraisal

  • Coping strategies on basis on perception and analysis of situation

  • Includes anything an individual thinks or does in trying to adapt o stress, regardless of how well it works

  • Coping is dynamic and evolving process

  • Requires continuous reappraisal between self and environment.

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Models of CopingCognitive-Appraisal Model

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Models of Coping Cognitive-AppraisalTwo Strategies

  • Problem – Focused: strategy directed toward eliminating, managing or improving a stressful situation

  • Emotion – Focused: strategy directed toward managing the emotional response to a stressful situation to lessen its physical or psychological impact (palliative coping)

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Models of Coping Cognitive-AppraisalEmotion – Focused

  • Divert attention away from a problem

  • Give in to situation or problem

  • Deny that the problem exists

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Religion and Well Being

  • Religion seems to play a supportive role

    • Social support

    • Encouragement of healthy lifestyle

    • Perception of a measure of control over life through prayer (positive emotional states

    • Reduction of stress

    • External control of misfortunes (faith in God)

  • Nonreligious people with secular values have similar supportive role

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Successful or Optimal Aging

  • Disengagement Theory

  • Activity Theory

  • Continuity Theory

  • Role of Productivity

  • Selective Optimization with Compensation

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Disengagement Theory

  • Successful aging is characterized by mutual withdrawal between the older person and society

  • Society stops providing useful roles for older adult

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Activity Theory

  • Successful aging is dependent on persons ability to remain active.

  • Adult’s roles are major sources of satisfaction – The greater the loss of roles the less satisfied a person will be.

    • Retirement

    • Widowhood

    • Distance from children

    • infirmity

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Continuity Theory

  • To age successfully people must maintain a balance of continuity and change in both the internal and external structures of their lives.

  • Continuation of a lifestyle.

  • Retired people are happiest pursuing work or leisure activities similar to those they have enjoyed in the past

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Role of Productivity

  • Productive activity, either paid or unpaid is key to aging well.

  • 9 out of 10 agers engage in some form of productive activity

  • On average

    • One-third more housework

    • Twice as much yard work

    • Three times as much paid work

    • Four times as much volunteer work.

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Selective Optimization with Compensation

  • Older adults can be:

  • More flexible in coping strategies

    • Emotion-focusing compensate for loss of control over certain areas of their lives

  • More selective about social contacts

  • Maintain contact with people who can best meet their current needs for emotional satisfaction.

    • Compensate for narrowing of possibilities in their lives

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Work, Retirement, Leisure

  • * The concept of retirement became widespread during the early twentieth century

  • 1950 compulsory retirement was virtually outlawed in the US as a form of age discrimination

  • Most adults who can retire do retire

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Work, Retirement, Leisure

  • Older workers are

    • More productive

    • Slower but more accurate

    • Dependable

    • Responsible

    • Frugal with time and materials

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Work, Retirement, Leisure

  • * The size of a retiree's social support network is the most powerful predictor of satisfaction in retirement

  • Family-focused lifestyle

    • Low-cost activities around family, home and companions

    • Conversation

    • Watching television

    • Visiting with family and friends

    • Playing cards

    • Doing “what comes along”

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Work, Retirement, Leisure

  • Balanced investment – retirement activity allocated among family, work, and leisure.

  • Serious leisure – requiring skill, attention and comment

    • Master a craft

    • Pursue an intense

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Living Arrangements

  • Developing countries both elderly men and women typically live with adult children and grandchildren in multigenerational households.

  • Developed countries the minority of older adults living alone has increased greatly since 1960. (95.5% live in the community)

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Living Arrangements

  • * The growth of elderly single-person households are because of  

    • increased old age benefits

    • reverse mortgage programs enable people to live at home longer

    • long-term care policies that discourage institutional living

  • Factors for not living alone

    • Personality

    • Cognitive abilities

    • Physical health

    • Depleted social network

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Group Living Arrangements

  • Retirement hotel – remodeled to meet needs (switchboard, made service, message)

  • Retirement community (self-contained development)

  • Shared housing (shared informally by adult parents)

  • Accessory apartment or ECHO (elder cottage housing opportunity) independent units on the grounds of family members)

  • Congregated housing (private or government-subsidized rental apartment complexes or mobile homes)

  • Assisted-living facility (semi-independent living in one’s own room or apartment)

  • Foster-care home

  • Continuing care retirement community

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Mistreatment of Elderly

  • Physical violence

  • Psychological abuse

  • Emotional abuse

  • Material exploitation

  • Neglect

  • Violating personal rights

    • Right to privacy

    • Make their own personal and health decisions

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Social Contact

  • Social Convoy Theory

    • Changes in social contact

      • Coworkers and other casual friends drop away

      • * Retain a stable inner circle of social convoys

        • Close friends

        • Family members

  • Socioemotional selectivity theory

    • Become increasingly selective about the people they spend their time with

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UN’s Principles of Older Persons

  • Independence

    • Access to adequate food, water, clothing and health care

    • Opportunity to work

    • Participate in determining when and what pace withdrawal from labor force

    • Access to appropriate educational and training programs

    • Able to reside at home for as long as possible

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UN’s Principles of Older Persons

  • Participation

    • Remain integrated in society, participate actively in formation and implementation of policies that affect their well-being, share knowledge and skills with younger generation

    • Seek and develop opportunities for service to the community

    • Able to form movements or associations of older persons

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UN’s Principles of Older Persons

  • Care

    • Should benefit from family and community care and protection in accordance with values

    • Have access to health care to help maintain or regain optimum level of physical, mental and emotional well-being

    • Able to utilize levels of institutional care providing protection, rehabilitation and social/mental stimulation in humane and secure environment

    • Able to enjoy human rights and fundamental freedoms including full respect for

      • Dignity

      • Beliefs

      • Needs

      • Privacy

      • Quality for their lives

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UN’s Principles of Older Persons

  • Self-fulfillment

    • Able to pursue opportunities for the full development of their potential

    • Access to educational, cultural, spiritual, and recreational resources of society

  • Dignity

    • Able to live in dignity and security free of exploitation and physical/mental abuse

    • Treated fairly regardless of age, gender, racial/ethic background, disability or status, and valued for their economic contribution

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Long-Term Marriage

  • Long-term marriage a new phenomenon

  • One in five marriage lasts fifty or more years

  • Conflict resolution skills are key to marital satisfaction

  • Long marriage tested by advancing age and physical ills

  • Divorce and remarriage is rare

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  • * Friends are important because they are chosen by the person

  • Soften the impact of stress on physical and metal health

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Relationships with Adult Children

  • In US, social security and Medicare have lifted some responsibilities for the elderly from family members

  • Older parents become depressed if they have to ask for help from family because of strong value of independence