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Unit 2: The Life Span


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Title: Unit 2: The Life Span

Unit 2 The Life Span
  • Ch 3 Infancy and Childhood
  • Ch 4 Adolescence
  • Ch 5 Adulthood and Old Age

Ch 3 - Infancy and Childhood
  • Developmental psych
  • The study of changes that occur as an individual
  • Includes physical, social, emotional, moral,
    intellectual development.
  • There are 3 main issues in developmental psych
  • Continuity vs. stages of development
  • Stability vs. change
  • Nature vs. nurture
  • (heredity vs. learned behavior)

  • Newborns
  • Development begins in the womb. Fetuses have
    heartbeats 3-4 weeks after conception. They also
    suck their thumbs hiccup.
  • At birth, they can see, hear, smell, respond to
    the environment.
  • Capable of inherited, automatic, coordinated
    movements called reflexes which include
  • Grasping reflex respond to a touch on the palm
    of their hand tightly grasp any object.
  • Rooting reflex if alert touched around the
    mouth, they will move their head mouth toward
    the object.
  • These reflexes gradually disappear.
  • How do we measure capabilities of newborns?
  • By observing their reactions behaviors they
    can suck, turn their heads, look at things, cry,
    smile, show surprise or fright.
  • These things show stimulation.

  • Physical development
  • The development of an infant into a child who can
    walk talk is a result of maturation learning.
  • Maturation is internally programmed growth of a
  • For ex, most children can do the following
  • Lift head 3 months
  • Smile 4 months
  • Crawl 8-10 months
  • Walk 12-13 months
  • Unless a child is persistently underfed, severely
    restricted in movements, or deprived of human
    contact or things to look at, these developments
    will happen approximately according to the above
  • It does no good for parents to try to rush the
    process a child must be physiologically ready.
  • If an infant is too far behind this schedule, it
    helps doctors to spot potential problems.

  • Language development
  • We have learned a lot about language development
    from animals.
  • Chimps are able to learn sign language use
    specialized computers w/ symbols.
  • Some claim that there is a critical learning
    period for language.
  • Young children can often learn sign language more
    easily quickly than verbal language.
  • There are several steps to learning language
  • Make signs by hand or mouth.
  • Learn the meaning of the signs or words.
  • Learn the grammar.
  • By the time a child is 2, they have a vocabulary
    of 500-1,500 words.
  • From 1½ - 5 yrs old, children add 5-10 words per
    day to their vocabulary.
  • At 2 yrs old, a childs grammar is still unlike
    an adult. They use telegraphic speech in which
    they leave out words or use the wrong verb tense,
    but still get the message across.
  • Read p.69 The Case of Genie

End Section 1
  • Cognitive development
  • Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget intensely studied
    the intelligence of small children.
  • Discovered that children develop logic think
    differently at different ages.
  • Concluded that childrens knowledge grows
    quantitatively (amount) qualitatively (depth or
  • Stressed childrens active role in gaining
  • Considered by many to be the greatest child
    psychologist of the 20th century.

  • To understand the world around us, we all
    construct mental schemas (mental representations
    of the world or a way of seeing organizing
  • When exposed to something new, a child (or adult)
    will try to fit it into one of his/her schemas.
  • If an object or experience fits into a
    pre-existing schema, it goes through the process
    of assimilation.
  • If an object or experience doesnt fit into a
    pre-existing schema, the schema must adjust to
    the new knowledge in the process of
  • Assimilation accommodation work together to
    produce intellectual growth.

  • Infants only know what is right in front of them.
    Any object hidden from their sight ceases to
    exist for them.
  • Around 7 months old, babies begin to realize
    objects still exist even when they cant see
    them. By 18-24 months, children realize that
    people objects are independent of his/her
    actions. This is known as object permanence.
  • At this time, the child has acquired
    representational thought the ability to picture
    things in his/her mind.
  • Young children are egocentric they cant
    understand another persons perspective.
  • B/w 5-7 yrs old, most children begin to
    understand conservation the principle that a
    given quantity doesnt change when its appearance
    has changed.

(No Transcript)
Piagets Stages of Cognitive Development Piagets Stages of Cognitive Development Piagets Stages of Cognitive Development
Stage Approx. Age General Characteristics
Sensorimotor Birth 2 yrs Behavior consists of simple motor responses, lacks object permanence
Preoperational 2 7 yrs Lacks reversible mental processes, egocentric thinking, no sense of conservation, uses symbols to solve simple problems
Concrete Operations 7 11 yrs Develops sense of conservation, still has trouble w/ abstract ideas, classification abilities improve
Formal Operations 11 yrs - onward Understands abstract ideas hypothetical situations, capable of logical deductive reason
According to Piaget, everyone goes through these stages in the same order but not at the same time. According to Piaget, everyone goes through these stages in the same order but not at the same time. According to Piaget, everyone goes through these stages in the same order but not at the same time.
  • Emotional development
  • We have learned a lot about emotional development
    from animals.
  • Some newborn animals have a sudden, virtually
    permanent learning process to become attached to
    their mothers known as imprinting. If they
    arent exposed to their mother at this time, they
    will imprint something or someone else become
    attached to it.
  • Important for survival purposes.
  • Occurs during a critical period (a specific time
    in development when certain skills or abilities
    are most easily learned).
  • In Harry Harlows experiment, baby monkeys would
    often attach themselves to a cloth surrogate
    monkey w/o food instead of a wood wire monkey
    w/ food, showing that imprinting is also
    important for contact comfort.
  • Read p.270-71 Fertile Minds

  • Infants begin to form attachments to mothers
    around 6 months when they can distinguish one
    person from another are beginning to develop
    object permanence.
  • Attachment w/ mother is especially strong from 6
    months 3 yrs old.
  • Disruption to the process can be disturbing to a
    child lead to separation anxiety.
  • During an experiment to measure attachment moms
    were told leave children come back w/ w/o a
    stranger in the room.
  • Revealed 4 patterns of attachment
  • 1. Secure attachment child welcomes back
    mom is free of anger
  • 2. Avoidant attachment child ignores mom
  • 3. Resistant attachment child not upset
    when mom leaves, but angry rejects her when
    she returns
  • 4. Disorganized attachment child behaves

End Section 2
  • Parenting styles
  • There are 4 types
  • Authoritarian Families Parents are the bosses.
    Rules are non-negotiable kids should never ?
  • Authoritative or Democratic Families Parents
    explain the purpose of rules. Kids may
    participate in the decision making process w/
    discussions negotiations, but parents have
    final say.
  • Permissive or Laissez-faire Families Parents try
    to guide kids but give in when pushed. Kids have
    the final say.
  • Uninvolved Parents Parents are distant
    unconcerned w/ kids.
  • Studies show kids of authoritative families are
    more confident of their values goals than other
    kids b/c theyre not treated as incompetent nor
    given too much responsibility too soon. Theyre
    also more able to identify w/ their parents
    these parents present a model of responsible,
    cooperative independence for the kid to imitate.

  • Child abuse
  • The physical or mental injury, sexual abuse,
    negligent treatment, or mistreatment of children
    under the age of 18.
  • Reasons it occurs
  • Abusers were often victims of abuse as kids.
  • Many abusive parents have little patience or
    unrealistic expectations.
  • Stressed parents are more likely to resort to
  • Low birth-weight infants, children who are
    hyperactive, or mentally/physically disabled are
    more likely to be victims of abuse (make greater
    demands on parents).
  • Social-cultural stresses like unemployment,
    lack of contact w/ family friends are
    associated w/ abuse.
  • Abuse can lead to loss of trust feelings of
    guilt in victims. This can further lead to
    antisocial behavior, depression, loss of
    self-esteem, etc

  • Social development
  • Socialization is the process of learning the
    rules of behavior of the culture an individual is
    born into will live in.
  • A child must learn what is considered acceptable
    unacceptable behavior.
  • Some rules are clear, some are flexible.
    Sometimes there are double standards.
  • Difficult process, rules can change based on
  • Situation
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Other
  • Each society has ideas about what is meaningful,
    valuable, worth striving for, beautiful.
    Additionally, each classifies people according to
    their family, sex, age, skills, personality,
    other criteria.

  • Freuds Theory of Psychosexual Development
  • He believed that all kids are born w/ powerful
    sexual aggressive urges. By learning to
    control them, kids learn right wrong.

  • During the phallic stage, children become aware
    of gender differences.
  • Additionally, Freud believed that at this time
    children compete for the affection of the
    opposite sex parent resent the same sex parent.
  • Freud believed this occurrence to be especially
    powerful for boys known as the Oedipus Complex
    (for girls its known as the Electra Complex).
  • Eventually children go through the process of
    identification, in which he/she adopts the values
    principles of the same-sex parent.
  • During the latency stage, children redirect their
    sexual impulses into learning tasks in a process
    known as sublimation.

  • Eriksons Theory of Psychosocial Development
  • Learning Theories of Development
  • Erikson recognized sexual aggressive urges, but
    believed that the need for social approval was
    equally important.
  • Believed we face crises as we mature how others
    respond to our efforts shapes our development.
  • Both Freud Erikson believed learning social
    rules is different from intellectual or physical
    skills. Many psychologists disagree.
  • They believe children learn the ways of their
    social world b/c theyre rewarded for conforming
    b/c they copy others in hopes of future
  • Implies that the child is a passive learner.

  • The Cognitive-Developmental Approach
  • Believe the childs social development is a
    result of the childs acting on the environment
    trying to make sense out of his/her experiences.
  • Childrens games are a way for children to make
    sense of their world.
  • Much time is focused on the rules of play.
  • Learn how to structure group activities.
  • Miniature society.
  • Role-playing allows them to experience other
    points of view.

  • Kohlbergs Stages of Moral Development
  • Given the hypothetical situation of a man needing
    an drug he couldnt afford to save his wifes
    life, children showed 6 stages of moral
  • P. 85-86

Stage Thinking Examples
1 Egocentric dont consider others views, no sense of right or wrong. Must avoid punishment. Steal hell get blamed if she dies. Dont steal hell go to jail.
2 Help someone if he helps you, but hurt someone if he hurts you. Still egocentric. Stealing is ok b/c it helps his wife.
3 Very sensitive to others opinions. Concerned w/ societys approval. Steal others will think hes cruel to let wife die. Dont steal others will think hes a criminal.
4 Less concerned w/ others approval. Key issue is law order. Law is moral rule. Dont steal its illegal.
5 Concerned w/ whether a law is fair just. Laws may need to be changed. Steal drug costs too much. Saving a life overrides theft.
6 Accept that ethical principles apply to everyone. Golden rule above all. Would the pharmacist steal from the man if situations were reversed?
End Section 3
Ch 4 Adolescence
  • What is adolescence?
  • Some societies dont acknowledge adolescence.
    People move directly from childhood to adulthood.
  • We consider it to be a time of preparation for
    adult responsibilities w/ many initiation rites
    (ceremonies or rituals in which an individual is
    admitted to a new status or accepted into a new
    position). Ex
  • Certain b-days (16,18,21)
  • Getting drivers license
  • Bar or bat mitzvahs
  • Graduations
  • Marriage
  • Great physical, mental emotional changes

  • Theories of adolescence
  • Theres been controversy over the nature of
    adolescence since it was 1st suggested as a
    separate stage of life in 1904.
  • G. Stanley Hall compared it to being a fully
    grown animal in a cage an animal that sees
    freedom but doesnt know when it will occur or
    how to handle it.
  • Stage of great stress.
  • Some see it as a stage of continuous growth.
  • Anthropologist Margaret Mead said adolescent
    stress is a by-product of industrialized
    societies in some cultures, adolescence is a
    highly enjoyable time.
  • Virtually all agree that there is some stress.

  • Psychologist Robert Havighurst listed
    developmental tasks adolescents must master which
  • Acquiring a masculine/feminine gender role.
  • Developing appropriate relations w/ age-mates of
    both genders.
  • Becoming emotionally independent of parents
    other adults.
  • Deciding on preparing for a vocation.
  • Understanding achieving socially responsible
  • Preparing for marriage family.
  • Acquiring values that are harmonious
  • Read p.90-91 Time Reports Articles

  • Physical development
  • Sexual maturation, or puberty (the point when
    reproduction is first possible), begins when
    hormones trigger a series of internal external
    changes including a growth spurt.
  • Girls
  • Start at 8-10 yrs old on average.
  • Fat tissue develops, making them appear chubby.
  • Develop female curves.
  • Boys
  • Start at 9-16 yrs old on average.
  • Fat tissue develops, making them appear chubby,
    but later disappears to be replaced by muscle
  • Develop a larger heart lungs.
  • Voice deepens.

  • This period of growth can be awkward for boys
    girls b/c of asynchrony (uneven growth or
    maturation of body parts).
  • Growth will even out eventually.
  • Males females both have a strong correlation
    b/w having a negative body image feelings of
  • Both genders are particularly sensitive about any
    traits they possess that they consider to be
  • Adolescents who develop too soon or too late are
    more likely to be self-conscious.
  • Except for early developing boys - they tend to
    be more confident.

  • Sexual development
  • Adolescence is the time when people develop their
    attitudes about sex expectations about their
    gender roles.
  • Cultural attitudes on what when children are
    told about sex vary widely.
  • The teen birthrate has steadily since 1991.
  • Statistics show that kids of teenage mothers are
    more likely to have kids as teenagers, do poorly
    in school, serve time in jail.

End Section 1
  • Cognitive development
  • Thinking patterns characteristic of adults
  • Abstract thinking becomes more developed around
    11-12 yrs old.
  • Leads to better problem-solving abilities.
  • Adolescents deal w/ overpowering emotional
    feelings through rationalization (a process where
    a person seeks to explain an unpleasant emotion
    or behavior in a way that will preserve his/her
  • Tend to become very idealistic b/c they can
    imagine the hypothetical (the way things could
    be). When they compare that to the way things
    are, they can grow rebellious.
  • Tend to become impatient w/ previous generations
    perceived failures.

  • Dr. David Elkind described problems adolescents
    develop as a result of immaturity abstract
    thought processes
  • Finding fault w/ authority figures (b/c the
    adults fall short of the ideal).
  • Argumentativeness.
  • Indecisiveness (b/c they are aware of more
  • Apparent hypocrisy (b/c they have problems living
    up to their own ideals).
  • Self-consciousness (b/c they assume everyone is
    thinking about the same thing they are
  • Feelings of invulnerability (b/c they begin to
    feel that they their experiences are unique).

  • Teenagers work
  • By high school graduation over 80 of students
    have had some kind of job.
  • Most take a low-skilled job for extra .
  • Research indicates that such work can be harmful.
  • Less time to study for school.
  • Gain a false impression about the workplace b/c
    their jobs tend to be low paying, boring,
  • Gain false ideas about . B/c theyre usually
    working for luxury items, they tend to experience
    a false sense of affluence . They may not
    realize that when they have to take on a
    full-time job that spending will be LESS

  • Moral development
  • Many people never go beyond Stage 4 (obey laws
    cultural norms) in Kohlbergs Stages of Moral
  • Stages 5 (are laws just?) 6 (ethical principles
    are universal more important than written laws)
    require abstract thinking. But although most
    adolescents acquire this ability, only about 10
    display higher moral reasoning.
  • Moral development doesnt change much in high
    school, but does during college when people are
    exposed to different cultures ideas.

  • Identity development
  • The establishment of identity is the key to
    adolescent development.
  • Most adolescents go through an identity crisis (a
    time of inner conflict during which they worry
    intensely about who they are).
  • What causes this?
  • Physiological cognitive developments.
  • Awakening sex drives.
  • Awareness of the future as a reality.
  • Need to feel unique but still fit in.
  • Identity forms when they can resolve issues such
    as occupation, beliefs, morals, etc
  • Not all psychologists believe adolescents
    experience an identity crisis, or that if they do
    it is due to external or societal factors.

End Section 2
  • Social development
  • In the 1970s, the typical American family had a
    wage-earning father who worked outside the home
    stay-at-home mother.
  • Now about ½ of marriages end in divorce over ½
    of all adult women are in the workforce.
  • The principle developmental task of adolescents
    is becoming independent of their families.
  • Teenagers use their peers to define themselves.
  • Early in adolescence, boys girls are usually
    divided, but later they mix in groups.

  • What determines whether an adolescent will be
    accepted by a peer group?
  • Class (middle lower classes usually dont mix)
  • Good looks personality (often determine
  • Athletics
  • Other
  • Belonging to a clique (a group w/in a group) is
    very important to most adolescents serves
    several functions
  • Fulfills the need for closeness.
  • Gives each other a way of establishing an
    identity by helping each other
  • Achieve confidence
  • Develop a sense of independence from their
  • Clarify values
  • Experiment w/ new roles

  • The fear of being disliked can lead to conformity
    (acting in accordance w/ some specified
  • Peers tend to set adolescent values on fashion,
    music, school issues.
  • However, parents tend to set adolescent values on
    marriage, religion, educational plans.
  • Things like drug use attitudes about sex can be
    influenced by peers /or parents.
  • Adolescents tend to choose friends w/ values
    similar to their parents.

  • Depression during adolescence
  • Although studies show that the great majority of
    adolescents adjust fairly quickly to temporary
    psychological difficulties, the rates of mental
    illness suicide have been over the past
    several decades (the teenage suicide rate has
    TRIPLED in the last 50 yrs that rate may be
  • Some believe that depression is much more
    widespread in teenagers than most adults suspect.
  • Unlike adults who appear sad, teenagers often
    appear angry when depressed may engage in risky
    behavior. They may withdrawal from friends
    family as well.

  • Eating disorders
  • Most prevalent in teenagers especially girls.
  • Anorexia nervosa is characterized by a fear of
    gaining weight that results in prolonged
    self-starvation dramatic weight loss.
  • Have a distorted body image believe theyre fat
    even when they're dangerously thin.
  • Some psychologists believe the disorder is a way
    for anorexics to feel in control of something
    (their body).
  • Bulimia nervosa is characterized by binge eating
    followed by purging (by vomiting, using
    laxatives, or strict dieting fasting).
  • Both anorexia bulimia require counseling to
    help recover deal w/ the deeper psychological
    issues behind them.
  • Former anorexics bulimics constantly have to be
    careful of a relapse.

(No Transcript)
End Section 3
  • Gender roles
  • Gender identity is a ones physical biological
    make-up. It is your awareness of being male or
  • B/w 2-3 yrs old, most kids label themselves as
    boy or girl.
  • By 5 yrs old, most kids have learned the
    thoughts, expectations, behaviors that go w/
    their gender role.
  • Gender roles are the sets of behaviors that
    society considers appropriate for each sex.
  • Vary from one society to another.
  • Can change over time w/in a society.
  • Sometimes gender roles become so rigid that they
    become gender stereotypes an oversimplified or
    distorted generalization about the
    characteristics of men women.
  • Androgynous combining or blending traditionally
    male female characteristics.

Gender Stereotype
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  • Gender differences
  • Studies have found that there are personality
    differences b/w men women.
  • Men are more confident (according to 1 study)
    especially in academic areas or in tasks
    stereotyped as masculine (ex. math science).
  • Females are more verbally aggressive men are
    more physically aggressive.
  • MEN TALK MORE THAN WOMEN!! They also interrupt
    more, but women talk more when they have power in
    a relationship.
  • Women are more likely to use disclaimers in
    speech (ex. I may be wrong or Im not sure).
  • Women are more likely to show submission warmth
    men dominance status.
  • Women are more sensitive to nonverbal cues.
  • Very few cognitive differences.

  • Origins of gender differences
  • How gender differences develop is part of the
    nature vs. nurture debate.
  • Biological Theory Emphasizes the role of
    anatomy, hormones, brain organization. Believe
    behaviors evolved from early humans.
  • Psychoanalytical Theory (Freud) Occurs when kids
    go through the identification process (ages 3-5)
    when they identify w/ the same sex parent.
  • Social Learning Theory Kids learn gender roles
    by observing imitating adults. Adults respond
    reward certain behaviors in boys others in
  • Cognitive-Developmental Theory Kids acquire
    gender roles by interacting w/ their environment
    thinking about those experiences. Eventually
    they develop a gender schema (a mental
    representation of how men women should think

End Section 4
Ch 5 Adulthood and Old Age
  • Physical changes
  • 2 theories of the aging process
  • Body cells become less able to repair themselves.
  • We have a biological clock which limits the of
    times cells can divide multiply.
  • Young adults reach their physical peak b/w 18-30
    yrs old.
  • Period when were the strongest, healthiest,
    have quickest reflexes.
  • Physical decline is slow gradual.
  • What is lost physically may be replaced by

  • Appearance changes
  • Hair starts to gray maybe thin.
  • Skin becomes somewhat dry inelastic leading
    to wrinkles loose skin.
  • Become a little shorter.
  • Senses become less sensitive reflexes slow
  • Many health problems can be prevented or delayed
    by taking good care of yourself as a child
    young adult (diet, exercise, avoiding risky
    behavior, no excessive stress, etc).
  • The 3 most common causes of death in late
    adulthood are heart disease, cancer, cirrhosis
    of the liver.
  • Women go through menopause during middle age.
    They are no longer able to have kids their
    bodies production of sex hormones . No male
  • ½ of women interviewed said they felt more
    confident calmer after menopause.

  • Marriage divorce
  • Sexual activity
  • About 90 of adults in the US will get married.
  • About ½ of marriages end in divorce.
  • Success or failure of a marriage basically stems
    from 2 things
  • How often they share intimate happy moments.
  • How couples handle conflicts.
  • Happy couples argue, but they
  • - LISTEN to each other.
  • - Show RESPECT.
  • Sexual activity doesnt automatically w/
  • Those who are inactive give 3 reasons for not
    having sex
  • Boredom w/ partner.
  • Poor physical condition.
  • Accept the stereotype that sex drive .

  • Cognitive changes
  • Adults in their mid 20s are better at solving
    problems that require speed coordination.
  • People continue to acquire information to
    expand their vocabulary as they grow older.
  • The ability to comprehend new material to think
    flexibly improves w/ years experience.
  • Most reach their creative peak in their 40s (or
    even as late as their 60s) if they had a higher
    education, are in a stimulating environment,
    work in an intellectually demanding career.

  • Social personality development
  • A persons basic character, his/her style of
    adapting to situations, is relatively stable over
    his/her life.
  • But personality is flexible capable of change
    as an individual confronts new challenges.
  • Despite peoples belief that they have changed
    dramatically over the years, researchers have
    found that confident people tend to remain
    confident, aggressive people tend to remain
    aggressive, etc unless something upsetting has
    happened (ex. job loss).

  • Levinsons Theory of Male Development
  • Ages are
  • approximations.
  • 22-28 Novice into the adult world. Must try to
    resolve the conflict b/w the need to explore
    options establish a stable life structure.
  • 28-30 Transition period w/ Age 30 crisis.
    Tentative commitments made in 1st life structure
    are reexamined many ?s about life goals are
    reopened, often in a painful way. Believe
    unsatisfying parts of life must be dealt w/ now.
  • 31-40 Settling down. Has made firm decisions
    about his life, now concentrates on making it
    in the adult world during the last ½ of this
    stage, strives to attain seniority position in
    his world.

  • 40-45 Midlife transition. Begins again to ask
    ?s, but now about the past as well as the future
    (Ex. What have I done? What do I still want to
  • Successful transition often leads to becoming a
    mentor to a young man which results in
    generativity (the desire in middle age to pass
    wisdom on to future generations).
  • Unsuccessful transition may result in stagnation
    (a discontinuation of development a desire to
    recapture the past).
  • Late 40s onward True adulthood can be achieved.
    Men who are satisfied w/ their life reach a
    period of stability men who arent become
    frustrated unhappy.

  • Female development
  • Most women dont experience a midlife crisis.
  • Many find that as their kids get older, they have
    fewer demands on them as mothers have more
    personal freedom may rejoin workforce, go back
    to school, etc
  • An important event for a woman is when her
    youngest child moves out. The Empty Nest
    Syndrome is more difficult for women who are
    divorced, widowed, or have an unsatisfying
    marriage. For happily married women, the event
    isnt as difficult.
  • Depression is most common in middle aged women
    (can be triggered by menopause). If a woman has
    defined herself as a mother the children have
    moved out, or as a wife she gets divorced, she
    may feel worthless.

End Section 1
  • Attitudes towards old age
  • Ageism is the prejudice or discrimination against
    the elderly.
  • Many elderly people work often as volunteers.
  • Many think elderly are inflexible senile, but
    the older person who is rigid was probably rigid
    as a young person
  • Senility affects 10 of the aged usually
    results from a disease rather than the natural
    process of aging.

  • Changes in health
  • Physical strength the senses about 1 per
    yr in adulthood.
  • 40 of the elderly have a chronic disease
    (permanent disability).
  • The 4 most common are heart disease,
    hypertension, diabetes arthritis.
  • The major causes of death among the old are heart
    disease, cancer, strokes.
  • The quality of health care for the elderly
    remains mostly inferior to that of the general
    population. This is b/c
  • The elderly in the lower socioeconomic class tend
    not to take care of themselves or seek out
  • Doctors prefer to administer to younger patients
    who typically have more treatable diseases.
  • About 15 of males 25 of females live in
    nursing homes.

  • Changes in life situation
  • For young people most life transitions (like
    graduations or marriage) are positive create a
    deeper involvement in life. But for the elderly,
    transitions (like retirement or widowhood) are
    often negative isolation.
  • By 65 yrs old, 20 of men 50 of women are
  • By 80 yrs old, 33 of men 70 women are alone.
  • Widows outnumber widowers 6 to 1.
  • Depression is common in older adults, but more
    than ever before, older people are learning new

  • Changes in sexual activity
  • The majority of people over 65 yrs old continue
    to be interested in sex.
  • Many healthy people in their 70s 80s continue
    to have sex.
  • The most common reasons for discontinuing sexual
    activity are societal attitudes towards the
    elderly sex, death of a spouse, or poor health
    - NOT lack of interest or physiological ability.
  • Some older people encounter opposition from
    family or friends if they wish to remarry b/c
    they may find the idea of love sex in old age
    silly or disgusting.

  • Adjusting to old age
  • Many changes the elderly face make their
    adjustment to everyday life more difficult b/c
    they often involve losing control over their
  • This loss of control is often gradual.
  • It may be physical (becoming sick or disabled) or
    environmental (moving into a nursing home).
  • Those who experience a loss of control may
    develop a negative self-concept can be helped
    by learning how to make the best of the options
    available to them.
  • People w/ assertive personalities are often
    better at coping w/ life changes than passive
    people b/c they will be more likely to demand
    receive the attention they need.
  • Organizations like the AARP (American Association
    of Retired Persons) speak out lobby on social
    issues important to them.

  • Changes in mental functioning
  • There is less in intelligence memory than
    people think.
  • 2 types of intelligence have been proposed
  • Crystallized ability to use accumulated
    knowledge in appropriate situations.
  • Fluid ability to solve abstract relational
    problems to generate new hypotheses (this
    ability is not related to schooling).
  • Elderly people tend to have crystallized
  • Senile dementia is the in mental abilities
    characterized by forgetfulness, disorientation of
    time place, a in the ability to think,
    impaired attention, altered personality.
  • It affects a small of people in old age.
  • Alzheimers disease is a condition that destroys
    a persons ability to think, remember, relate to
    others, care for him/herself.

End Section 2
  • Adjusting to death
  • Thanatology is the study of dying death.
  • Elisabeth Kubler-Ross pioneered a study of
    terminally ill patients identified 5 stages of
  • Shock numbness followed by DENIAL
    This cant be happening to me.
    They may seek a 2nd opinion or refuse
    treatment altogether.
  • ANGER Why me?
    They are likely to alienate themselves from
  • BARGAINING May ask God for a certain amount of
    time for good behavior.
  • ACCEPTANCE The struggle is over they
    experience a sense of calm.
  • Not all people go through every stage. Some
    stages may occur out of order or be repeated.
  • Read p.148 Psychologically Able to Decide

End Section 3
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