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.

Theories of Aging

Theories of aging

Aging processes occur at the biological, psychological, and social levels. There are any number of different theories of aging that are generally specific to each discipline. The truth is, no one is really certain why we age, although we are beginning to identify different processes that regulate or govern the rate of aging. For the most part, though, these theories are often specific to the particular process being studied (e.g., genetic or molecular), and relatively few attempts have been made to bridge different theories or aging mechanisms (Birren, 1999).

Bengtson, Rice, and Johnson (1999) suggest two reasons for the lack of integration in theories of gerontology. First, there are three different aspects of age on which theories can focus: characteristics of ...

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