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18 September 2006 @ 07:09 pm

Frequency and Quality of Contact:
- a widespread myth is that adults of past generations were more devoted to their aging parents than are adults of the present generation
- the reason is because fewer aging adults live with now than in the past because of a desire to be independent, made possible by gains in health and financial security
- proximity increases with age where both move towards each other
- many adult children become more appreciative of their parents’ strength and generosity
- in non-Western world, older adults most often live w/ their married children (Asian usually live w/ eldest son)
- the closer the relationship when they were younger, the more help given and received; even in distant relationships, children will support parents out of sense of family duty
Caring for Aging Parents:
- generations are “top-heavy” ↑ older adults w/ less children available to take care of them
- today’s generation is called the “sandwich generation” because they are “sandwiched, or squeezed, between the needs of aging parents and financially dependent children
- adult daughters most likely to provide support
- parents’ prefer same-sex caregivers and daughters feel a stronger sense of obligation
- male children usually handle more masculine roles while female children take on the household, more feminine tasks, as children get older the sex doesn’t matter as much
- the difference between caregiving for parents and children is that children become increasingly independent whereas old adults decline drastically and costs rise
- parental caregiving has emotional and physical health consequences, it leads to role overload, hostility, anxiety about aging, and rates of depression as high as 30-50%
- social support is highly effective in reducing caregiver stress (caregivers should not quit their jobs to take care of their parents because it isolates them)

Theories of Psychosocial Development:
- stages (discontinuous)
- psychosocial conflict
- based on interviews of men aged 35-45
- Early Adulthood: intimacy vs. isolation: Intimacy is one's ability to relate to another human being on a deep, personal level. An individual who has not developed a sense of identity (stage 5) usually will fear a committed relationship and may retreat into isolation.
- Middle Adulthood: generativity vs. stagnation: where people consider their contributions to family, community, work, and society. Generativity is guiding and encouraging future generations, leaving a lasting contribution to the world through creative or artistic output, looking beyond oneself to the continuation of one’s life through others. Stagnation is when people focus on the triviality of their life, and feel they have made only a limited contribution to the world
- Late Adulthood: ego integrity vs. despair: involves coming to terms with one’s life. Adults who arrive at a sense of integrity feel whole, complete, and satisfied with their achievements

- seasons (discontinuous)
- conflict and stability
- life cycle/life structure: the stable period is the time when a person makes crucial choices in life, builds a life structure around the choices and seeks goals within the structure; the transitional period is the end of a person's stage and the beginning of a new stage
- mid-life crisis
- Early Adulthood: Levinson’s Tasks: exploring the possibilities of adult life (dream) and developing a stable life structure/establishing their role in society (life structure)
- Middle Adulthood: Levinson’s Time of Crisis: 4 conflicts – being young vs. old; destructive vs. constructive; masculine vs. feminine; and attached vs. separated. Those who are unsuccessful dealing with mid-life crisis enter a period of stagnation
- late adult transition (60-65 years); late adulthood (65 years – death)

Vaillant: denied a strict age-related schedule of change; focus on career and intimacy; smoother transition than Levinson; ego integrity

- developmental testing ground, a time when full attention can be devoted to exploring alternative values, roles, and behaviors
- students experience “culture shock” – encounters w/ new ideas and beliefs, new freedoms and opportunities, and new academic and social demands
- about 70% enroll in a higher institution
- attitudes and values broaden, become better at reasoning and identifying strengths and weaknesses of opposing sides of complex issues
- they become interested in the arts and learn more about ethnic and cultural diversity
- they develop a greater self-understanding, enhanced self-esteem, and a firmer sense of identity influenced by the person’s involvement in academic and nonacademic activities, the richness and diversity of a campus setting
- residence hall living is one of the most consistent predictors of cognitive change because it maximizes involvement n the educational and social systems of the institution
- those who drop out usually have trouble adapting because of lack of motivation, poor study skills, financial pressures, or emotional dependence on parents

Selecting a vocation:
1) fantasy period: (early and middle childhood) young children gain insight into career options by fantasizing about them
2) tentative period: (early and middle adolescence) adolescents start to think about careers in more complex ways, at first they evaluate vocational options in terms of their interests, later as they become more aware of personal and education requirements for different vocations, they take into account their abilities and values.
3) realistic period: (late adolescence and early adulthood) by the early 20’s, the economic and practical realities of adulthood are just around the corner, and young people start to narrow their options. At first, many do so through further exploration, gathering more information about possibilities that blend with their personal characteristics. Then they enter a final phase of crystallization in which they focus on a general vocational category. Within it, they experiment for a period of time before settling on a single occupation

Factors influencing vocational choice:
1) investigative person: who enjoys working w/ ideas and is likely to select a scientific occupation
2) social person: who likes interacting w/ people and gravitates toward human services
3) realistic person: who prefers real-world problems and work w/ objects and tends to choose a mechanical occupation
4) artistic person: who is emotional and high in need for individual expression
5) conventional person: who likes well-structured tasks and values material possessions and social status
6) enterprising person: who is adventurous, persuasive, and a strong leader and is drawn to sales and supervisory position or politics

- family influences: vocational choices correlate strongly w/ jobs of their parents; higher SES pick better paying jobs because of their parents’ careers and because their parents can afford to offer more opportunities
- teachers: often report that teachers influence career selection
- gender stereotypes: men tend to choose strongly gender-typed careers, women are exploring more male-dominated occupations but it is slow going this is because of gender-stereotyped messages and not female inability
- for this reason we need programs to sensitize high school and college personnel to the special problems women face in developing and maintaining high vocational aspirations
- those women who continue to achieve have 4 experiences in common:
1) supportive college environment that values their accomplishments and enhance their experiences in the curriculum
2) frequent interaction w/ faculty and professionals in their chosen fields
3) opportunities to test their abilities in a supportive environment
4) models of accomplished women who have successfully dealt w/ family-career role conflict

- young people benefit from greater access to career information
- those who do not pursue college educations, are unlikely to get jobs at levels other than what they had as students

- greater food choices and heavy scheduled life puts adults at great risk for obesity
- about 20% are obese (greater than 20% increase over average body weight)
- 41 % are overweight
- caused by consuming more calories than needed; BMR – Basal Metabolic Rate the amount of energy the body uses at rest
- adults should begin ASAP because it causes high blood pressure, circulatory difficulties, stroke, adult-onset diabetes
- Treatment needs to be lifestyle/behavior change like:
1) a well-balanced diet lower in calories and fat, plus exercise
2) training participants to keep an accurate record of what they eat
3) social support
4) teaching problem-solving skills
5) extended intervention (longer treatments)
- should avoid saturated fat, causes the deposits that clog the arteries
- reduces body fat and builds muscle
- fosters resistance to disease
- linked to reduced incidence of cancer at all body sites except the skin
- less likely to develop heart disease
- research suggests about 30 minutes most days a week


- some move into it gradually, taking bridge jobs that serve as a transition between full-time and part-time hours
Decision to retire:
1) affordability of retirement is usually the 1st consideration in the decision to retire; individuals who are healthy and whose vocational life is central to self-esteem are likely to keep working, especially those in professional occupations
2) societal factors affect retirement because young less costly workers easily replace older more expensive workers
3) gender and ethnicity plays a role; women retire earlier than men; in other Western nations, higher minimum pension allow older adults to retire earlier

Adjustment to retirement:
- gives up part of their identity and self-esteem
- is thought to be a precursor to decline in health when really retirement occurs after a decline in health
- staying active and socially involved are major determinants of retirement satisfaction
Adjustment Factors:
- workplace factors such as financial worries about having to give up one’s job predicts stress following retirement
- psychological factors such as personal control over life events places a factor, retiring for internally motivated things reduces stress of adjustment, those in well-educated, high-status careers fair better because the satisfactions derived from challenging, meaningful work readily transfer to nonwork pursuits
- social support reduces stress associated w/ retirement
- good marriage promotes adjustment to retirement because it can buffer the uncertainty with retirement

Leisure Activities:
- honeymoon period: a period of trying out new activities, many find that leisure interests and skills do not develop suddenly. Instead, most carry on or expand the activities they enjoyed before retirement
- involvement in leisure activities is related to better physical and mental health and reduced mortality (it has to be more than just participating, it has to be meaningful for them to gain the benefits associated w/ leisure activities)
- with age, frequency and variety of leisure pursuits tends to decline; after age 75, mobility limits engaging in leisure activities and the people become more sedentary and home based, elders is residential communities continue more activities because they are more conveniently available
- seniors usually engage in activities that are personally gratifying so only about 15% are attracted by the organized activities in community senior centers
- older adults make a vital contribution to society through volunteer work (hospitals, schools, charitable organizations, senior centers, and other community settings)
- younger, better educated, and financially secure seniors are likely to volunteer
- older adults report greater awareness of and interest in public affairs and vote at a higher rate than any other age group

- most view elderly as frail but in the last 40 years, Centenarians have increased tenfold
- women centenarians greatly outnumber men by 4 to 1
- 60 to 70% have physical or mental impairments that interfere w/ independent functioning but the rest lead active, autonomous lives, they are known as robust centenarians
- robust centenarians are particularly interesting because they represent the ultimate potential of the human species
- several longitudinal studies were conducted to study centenarians, they are diverse in years of education, economic well-being, and ethnicity but their physical conditions and life stories are similar…
Similarities of Centenarians:
1) Health: genetic advantage, ancestors lived to old age; their children appear physically young for their age. The majority of robust centenarians have escaped age-related chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and dementia. They typically have efficiently functioning immune systems and few brain abnormalities; most women give birth to normal children after the age of 40. Most are of average or slender build and practice moderation in eating. Don’t smoke and have good teeth.

2) Personality: highly optimistic, instead of dwelling on fear and tragedy they focus on a better tomorrow; less anxious and fearful the higher their self-rated health and psychological well-being; they score high on toughmindedness, independence, emotional security, and openness to experience; they mention close family bonds and a long and happy marriage

3) Activities: usually have a history of community involvement – working for just causes they that are central to their growth and happiness; their current activities often include stimulating work, leisure pursuits, and learning, which may help sustain their good cognition and life satisfaction

Applying the principles of Psychosocial Development to Centenarians:
Erikson’s Theory: Ego Integrity versus Despair
 they have a sense of integrity feel whole, complete, and satisfied with their achievements.
 view one’s life in the larger context of all humanity
 they strive for generativity and ego integrity in everyday behavior.

Other Theories of Psychosocial development in Late Adulthood
 Successful development in the later years involves greater integration and deepening of the personality.
Peck’s Theory: Three Tasks of Ego Integrity
- Ego Differentiation versus work-role preoccupation: (Results from retirement. Requires aging people who have invested heavily in their careers to find other ways of affirming their self-worth) Centenarians continue to engage in stimulating activities
- Body transcendence versus body preoccupation: (Older adults need to transcend physical limitation by emphasizing cognitive and social powers, which offer alternative, compensating rewards) Centenarians are in good health and take care of themselves
- Ego Transcendence versus ego preoccupation: (Middle-aged people realize that life is finite, the elderly are reminded of death as siblings, friends, and peers in their community die. Must find a constructive way of facing this reality through investing in a longer future than their own lifespan. Attaining ego integrity requires a continuing effort to make life more secure, meaningful, and gratifying for those who will go on after one dies) Centenarians are optimistic and emotionally secure

Labouvie-Vief’s Theory: Emotional Expertise: Explored the development of adult’s reasoning about emotion.
 Pragmatic: a tool for solving real world problems.
 Reminiscence: Telling stories about people and event from the past
 Life review: A person calls up, reflects on, and reconsiders past experiences.
 Labouvie-Vief’s Theory to Centenarians means: because they are healthy, optimistic, and continue to engage in stimulating work and learning they are likely to have good emotional reasoning

- about 3 to 7% of elders are maltreated by family members, friends, and professional caregivers
Elder maltreatment takes the following forms:
1) Physical Abuse: intentional infliction of pain, discomfort, or injury, through hitting, cutting, burning, physical force, restraint, sexual assault, and other acts
2) Physical Neglect: intentional or unintentional failure to fulfill caregiving obligatins, which results in lack of food, medication or health services, or elders left alone or isolated
3) Psychological abuse – verbal assaults, humiliation, and intimidation
4) Financial Abuse – illegal or improper exploitation of the elder’s property or financial resources, through theft or use without the elder’s consent

- difficult to determine when neglect occurs, how do we define maltreatment
- most abusers are family members-spouses (usually men) followed by children of both sexes and then other relatives
- abuse in nursing homes is a major concern

Risk Factors:
1) Dependency of the victim: if the are very old, frail and mentally and physically impaired elders are more vulnerable to maltreatment
2) Dependency of the perpetrator: many abusers are dependent emotionally and financially on their victims; this dependency can be experienced as powerlessness and lead to aggressive, exploitative behavior
3) Psychological Disturbance and Stress of the Perpetrator: abusers are more likely than other caregivers to have psychological problems and to be dependent on alcohol or other drugs, often they are socially isolated have difficulties at work, or are unemployed with resulting financial worries
4) History of Family Violence: elder abuse is often part of long history of family violence; adults who were abused as children are at an increased risk for abusing elders
5) Institutional Conditions: more likely to occur in nursing homes that are run down and overcrowded and that have staff shortages, minimal staff supervision, high staff turnover, and few visitors

Preventing Elder Maltreatment:
- challenging, victims may fear retribution, wish to protect abusers who are spouses, sons, or daughters, or feel embarrassed that they could not control the situation
- prevention programs offer caregivers counseling, education and respite services
- sometimes trained volunteers “buddies” make visits to the home
- public education is vital to encourage reporting suspected cases and improved understanding of the needs of older people
- countering negative stereotypes of aging reduces maltreatment, since recognition of elders’ dignity, individuality, and autonomy is incompatible w/ acts of harm

- younger adults delay marriage more than a half-century ago
- it is the joining of two entire family systems
- because of changing gender roles and living farther away from parents, couples now have to work harder to define their relationship
- age of marriage is the most consistent predictor of marital stability, younger couples more likely to divorce
- traditional marriages: involving clear division of husband’s and wife’s roles, still exist in Western nations. The man is the head of household; his primary responsibility is the economic well-being of his family. The woman devotes herself to caring for her husband and children and to creating a nurturant, comfortable home
- egalitarian marriages: husband and wife relate as equals, and power and authority are shared. Both partners try to balance the time and energy they devote to their occupations, their children, and their relationship

Factors Related to Marital Satisfaction:
Factors related to marital satisfaction Happy Marriage Unhappy Marriage
Family background Partners similar in SES, education, religion, and age Partners very different in SES, education, religion, age
Age at marriage After age 23 Before age 23
Length of courtship At least 6 months Less than 6 months
Timing of first baby After 1st year of marriage Before or within 1st year of marriage
Relationship to extended family Warm and positive Negative, wish to maintain distance
Marital patterns in extended family Stable Unstable, frequent separations and divorce
Financial and employment status Secure Insecure
Personality characteristics Emotionally positive, good conflict resolution skills Emotionally negative and impulsive, poor conflict resolution skills

- many young people have a mythical image of marital bliss (like my partner should read my mind; marital satisfaction increases through the 1st year; a couple’s sex life is the single best predictor of marital satisfaction) as couples learn this they become disappointed and the marriage becomes less satisfying

- people wait later to have children and we have less per family now than in the past
- the choice of parenthood is affected by a complex array of factors, including financial circumstances, personal and religious values, and health conditions

Advantages and Disadvantages of Parenthood mentioned by Contemporary Couples:

- after arrival of the baby, traditional roles are taken & less time for their relationship; usually no strain but if it is a troubled marriage then children can cause further distress
- waiting to become parents permits couples to pursue occupational goals and gain life experience and men are willing to participate
- people have less children increasing more parent-child interaction; parents of fewer children have more patience and are less punitive
- nowadays men and women are less sure about how to rear children than in the old days
- good parenting is crucial for the welfare of the next generation and society yet cultures do not always place a high priority on parenting
- many parenting programs yield positive outcomes, including improved parent-child interaction, more flexible parenting attitudes, and heightened awareness by parents of their roles as educators of their children. These courses teach child-rearing values, improve family communication, understand how develop, and apply more effective parenting strategies
- child rearing is important to the future of society

- not living with an intimate partner
- rates have increased
- because they marry later, many women and men are single
- ethnicity plays a role, unemployment among black men is high preventing them for being able to support a family
- advantages include mobility and freedom; disadvantages are loneliness, the dating grind, limited sexual and social life, reduced sense of security, and feelings of exclusion from the world of marriage couples

- refers to the lifestyle of unmarried couples who have an intimate, sexual relationship and share a residence
- more preferred mode of entry into a committed intimate partnership
- for some it serves as a preparation for marriage (a time to test the relationship and get used to living together) and for others it is an alternative to marriage (an arrangement that offers the rewards of sexual intimacy and companionship along with the possibility of easy departure if satisfaction declines
- couples who cohabit before marriage are more prone to divorce than married couples who did not cohabit (especially so among multiple cohabitators or those who don’t jointly share expenses)
- often alternative to low-SES couples because of their uncertain earning power and plan to do so when their financial situation improves
- most American couples cohabit to avoid legal obligations

- some are involuntarily childless because they do not have a partner or they have fertility problems
- some are voluntarily childless because they do not want to give up their lifestyle or the woman is pursing a prestigious career
- many were only or first-born children whose parents encouraged achievement and independence
- they are content w/ their lives, unless they are involuntarily childless and then are likely to be dissatisfied and depressed

- most divorces occur within 7 years of marriage so most involve children
- pursuer/withdrawer problem; anger and resentment or they lead separate lives
- younger age at marriage, not attending religious services, being previously divorced, and having parents who had divorced increase chances of divorce in part because these problems are linked to marital difficulties
- economically disadvantaged couples who suffer multiple life stresses are especially likely to split up
- after divorce, both men and women are depressed and anxious and display impulsive behavior (and lasts about 2 years)
- finding a new partner contributes most to the life satisfaction of divorced adults, more crucial for men, who are better adjusted in the context of marriage than on their own. Despite loneliness and reduced income, most women prefer their new life to an unhappy marriage
- those that are still attached to their ex and women who did not have an identity outside the marriage have more difficulty adjusting

- on average, people marry w/in 4 years of divorce, men faster than women
Remarriages are especially vulnerable to break up because:
- although people often remarry for love, practical matters (financial security, help in rearing children, relief from loneliness, and social acceptance) figure more heavily into a 2nd marriage than the first these concerns do not provide a sound footing for a lasting partnership
- also some people transfer the negative patterns of interaction and problem solving learned in their 1st marriage to the second
- people who have already had a failed marriage are more likely to view divorce as an acceptable solution when marital difficulties resurface
- remarried couples experience more stress from stepfamily situations
- it takes 3 to 5 years for blended families to develop the connectedness and comfort of intact biological families
- counseling helps couples adapt