Why do people age differently? Research in the field of gerontology has indicated that there are large individual differences in personality, cognitive functioning, physical health, and psychological well-being, as well as in the quality of life in the later years. It is this variability and the reasons why people age differently that this book explores. Thoughtfully written, Aging presents an overview of what is known about genetic and environmental influences on aging. Beginning with an overview of family, adoption, and twin designs, author Cindy S. Bergeman examines such topics as the research in the area of longevity and health, cognitive functioning, personality, and psychopathology; and social support, life events, and measures of the family environment. The book concludes with a summary of the field of gerontological behavioral genetics. This book will stimulate discussion and future work about the origins of individual differences in later life and will be invaluable to professionals and practitioners in the fields of developmental psychology, psychology, aging, family studies, and nursing.

Aging Differently

Aging differently

The vast majority of traditional approaches to the study of human development have focused on the child. When developmental psychologists do discuss adulthood, it is often viewed as a period of stability and continuity, with old age characterized as a period of loss and decline. Many of these assumptions about adult development and aging are not supported by current scientific research. In fact, the lifespan approach suggests that aging is associated with both gains and losses, and positive developmental change is likely to occur throughout the entire life span (Baltes, 1987; Baltes, Reese, & Lipsitt, 1980). In addition, age-related diseases and physiological changes that have been associated with “normal aging” do not affect all people in the same way, nor do all ...

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