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.

The Origins of Psychological Aging

The origins of psychological aging

Few psychological theories of adult development and aging link developmental changes to specific chronological age because, as previously discussed, chronological age becomes an ineffective assessment tool in later life (Baltes & Willis, 1977). Other conceptualizations have therefore been used as indicators of development in an older population. Individual differences in psychological age relate to how emotion, personality, cognition, and behavior change across the life span and, ultimately, to the way in which this change affects individual functioning. A first step in interpreting this complex process is to understand the etiology of individual differences in adaptation and adjustment in later life. The purpose of this chapter is to review the growing body of gerontological behavioral genetic research ...

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