Funeral Practices

Historically, funerals were designed to serve the purposes of honoring the dead, supplying them with the means for existence in the next world and gaining favor with the gods. Funerals still honor the dead, but the main function served by modern funeral practices is to allow survivors to work through their own feelings concerning the deceased. However, the sense of loss, sadness, and other feelings associated with the death of a loved one do not end with the funeral. A period of bereavement and...

Trait Stability

The assertion of both stage and transition theorists that personality changes during adulthood is only partially supported by research. Many investigators (e.g., Costa & McCrae, 1980 Neugarten, 1977 Schaie & Parham, 1976) have found that personality can change during adulthood, but the overall picture is one of stability and continuity rather than reorganization and extensive changes (McCrae & Costa, 1990). A longitudinal study conducted some years ago in Kansas City (Neugarten,...

Stress Syndromes

Three of the most publicized states associated with prolonged stress are burnout, bereavement, and posttraumatic stress disorder. The symptoms of burnout, a condition precipitated by the stress of overwork, include emotional exhaustion, reduced productivity, and feelings of depersonalization. The emotional exhaustion in burnout may be accompanied by physical symptoms such as headaches and backaches, in addition to social withdrawal. Compulsive, insecure workaholics whose jobs have ceased to...

Homosexual Relationships

The social environments of most large cities is conductive to cohabitation among homosexual males (gays) and females (lesbians). Marriages between homosexuals are not legally sanctioned in the United States, although legislation concerning such domestic partnerships has received support in certain cities (e.g., San Francisco, New York) and states (e.g., Hawaii). Relatively little longitudinal research has been conducted on gay and lesbian relationships (Kimmel & Sang, 1995 Kurdek, 1991a,...

Older Adult Consumers

In general, older Americans consume fewer goods and services than their younger contemporaries, but they spend a greater portion of their after-tax incomes on items that cost of living adjustments fail to weight properly (e.g., food, health care, utilities . The lower average expenditures of older adults are a reflection of the fact that their households have fewer members and the members have less expensive needs. In addition, more job-related items such as transportation, clothing, life...

Eriksons Psychosocial Stages

Unlike classical psychoanalysis, which viewed personality as essentially complete by adolescence, Erik Erikson (1963) maintained that personality continues developing throughout an individual's lifetime. Also unlike Freudian theory, Erikson's stages are psychosocial rather than psychosexual. Erikson emphasized the importance of social interactions in the resolution of the crisis or conflict at each stage. The first five stages in his model of development are temporally parallel to Freud's five...

Chronological Age Differences

A person's score on an intelligence test is not a fixed number that remains invariant from year to year and test to test. The fact that test scores are not perfectly reliable means that a person's score will change somewhat with time, test, and conditions of administration. For example, IQ scores on the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale vary on the average about 5 points from testing to testing, though variations as large as 20 points can occur with dramatic changes in physical health,...

Age Differences in Coping Strategies

In their study of coping strategies in young, middle-aged, and older adults, Folkman et al. (1987) found that older adults were less likely than young and middle-aged adults to employ confrontation and aggression. Rather than becoming highly emotional when faced with stressful circumstances, older adults tended to cope by using denial, repression, and other passive strategies (Felton & Revenson, 1987 Folkman et al., 1987). As they become older, most adults relinquish coping strategies that,...

Genitourinary System

Considering the frequency of urinary disorders in older men, it is not surprising that the majority of urology patients are in their fifties or older. Shrinkage of the kidneys, loss of elasticity and capacity by the bladder, and enlargement of the prostate gland combine to increase the frequency of urination, cause urination to be less complete and bladder control to be lost, as well as other urological disorders. Reductions in the number of functioning excretory units (glomeruli) and,...

Adjusting to Retirement

For most older adults, retirement is an active, rewarding period of their lives. They now have time to pursue interests and complete tasks that they had to postpone or devote less time to during their working years. Not only do most people adjust well to retirement, but also their health and happiness may actually improve when they are no longer required to conform to the daily grind Betancourt, 1991 Herzog amp House, 1991 Quinn amp Burkhauser, 1990 . For these reasons, retirees are, on the...

Theories Of Biological Aging

As witnessed by the search for the fountain of youth and the time-honored popularity of tales and treatments concerned with the aging process, prolongevity has been a continuing quest since the dawn of human history. Although the commercial and health literature abounds with suggestions for staying healthy, looking good, and living as long as one can, the inevitability of corporeal existence is universally recognized. Acceptance of personal mortality does not mean, however, that the human life...