• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

In Health, Illness, and Optimal Aging: Biological and Psychosocial Perspectives, Carolyn M. Aldwin and Diane F. Gilmer undertake the challenging task of assembling an objective and holistic picture of human aging. The authors provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary coverage of the physical aspects of aging, including age-related changes and disease-related processes, the demography of the aging population, theories of aging, and the promotion of optimal aging. In addition, the book covers the psychosocial aspects of aging, including mental health, stress and coping, spirituality, and care giving in later years.   Health, Illness and Optimal Aging is recommended for researchers seeking an overview of health psychology and aging, as well as undergraduate and graduate students taking classes in the social, behavioral, and health sciences. This text is also valuable for practitioners working with the elderly in fields such as nursing, social work, occupational and physical therapy, day-care and nursing home administration, psychology, and rehabilitation.

Stress, Coping, and Health
Stress, coping, and health

Stress is a major pathway through which psychosocial factors affect physiology and the aging process. Through the neuroendocrine system, psychosocial stress can have adverse effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems. Luckily, humans are relatively resilient to the effects of stress, in part because we have developed complex ways of coping with stress that can reduce or buffer its effects. As Pearlin and Schooler (1978) noted 25 years ago, there is no magic bullet, no one coping strategy that will instantly solve any problem. We are beginning to understand which coping strategies work in different types of situations, however, and are also investigating the pathways through which coping can affect physiology and health outcomes. Older adults may be ...

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