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 “Nature” of Social Aging

The “nature” of social aging

One aspect of social aging refers to the dimensions that underlie the age-graded system of a society. That is, the age-status structure of society prescribes certain age norms that are important temporal dimensions of the social and cultural context of the life course (Schroots & Birren, 1990). The timing of certain life events (e.g., the appropriate age when individuals are expected to go to school, to marry, or to retire) can act as a “social clock,” telling an individual whether he or she is “on time” or “off time” (Neugarten & Datan, 1973). Research has suggested that more positive outcomes are associated with being on time, whereas negative outcomes are likely if a person is early ...

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