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103 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Physical changes that take place in middle adulthood: vision
• Accomodation of the eye experiences a sharp decline between 40 and 59
o Results from weakening of muscle and growth in size of lens
o Leads to difficulty with small print and viewing close objects
• Size of pupil shrinks and lens yellows
o Limits ability to see in dim light
o Limits color discrimination
Physical changes that take place in middle adulthood: hearing
• An estimated 14% of American adults between 45 and 64 have a hearing loss
• Hereditary and age related declines
• Decline typically starts with a loss at high frequencies
• Men’s hearing declines earlier and at a faster rate than women’s
Physical changes that take place in middle adulthood: weight/body dimensions
• Middle age spread- slowed metabolism- increase in body fat and gradual loss of lean body mass (muscle)
• Gradual loss in bone mass and density- makes bones weaker
• Disks in spinal column move closer- shrinkage
• Changes in women’s reproductive system
perimenopause and menopause, no longer has reproductive capacity
o Definition: mid life transition in which fertility declines
o Gradual changes for women over a 10 year period
menopause timing
o Typically between 50 and 55; 50 or 51 is average
o Genetics are a key factor in timing; smoking
o Not affected by age of first period or use of birth control pills
menopause-hormonal changes and their physical consequences
o Reduction in female sex hormones
• Decreased elasticity of skin
• Risk of heart disease increases
• Bones may lose more calcium-risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures
menopause-physical symptoms
• Hot flash
• Profuse sweating and night sweat
• Other changes: weight gain, changes in sexual response, headaches
• Extent and duration varies extensively
• Advantages and disadvantages of hormone replacement therapy – national research findings from WHI
• Believed to reduce risks of heart disease and osteoporosis and relieve some symptoms
• reduced bad LDL cholesterol and increased good HDL cholesterol

o 26% increase in breast cancer
o 41% increase in strokes
o 29% increase in heart attacks
o doubled rate of blood clots in legs and lungs
• Benefits
o 27% less colorectal cancer
o 34% fewer hip fractures
• no difference in number of deaths
• General health status during middle adulthood
• 85% rate health as good or excellent
health issue: weight
o Obesity increases risk of suffering other ailments
o See up to 55% lower risk for heart attack for those who maintain ideal body weight
o Difficult to sustain weight loss
health issue: cancer
o Cancer and heart disease are leading causes of death in middle age
o Death rate due to cancer multiplies tenfold from early to middle adulthood
o Women: breast, lung
o Men: prostrate, lung
o 40% of people with cancer are cured (disease free for 5 or more years)
health issue: cardiovascular disease
o Approx 25% of deaths in Americans 45-64
o Silent Killer-signs often undetected
• High blood pressure
• High blood cholesterol
• Atherosclerosis (build up of plaque in coronary arteries)
 Heart attack
 Angina pectoris- feels like indigestion or chest pain
 Arrhythmia- irregular heartbeat
Intelligence is multidimensional,
composed of many, separate mental abilities
Intelligence is multi-directional
can change directions for the same task and be in different directions (increasing and decreasing for different tasks)
Intelligence is characterized by interindividual variation
Patterns of change differ across individuals
Intelligence is plastic
capacity for change and improvement is always there.
changes over time seen in early cross-sectional research between fluid and crystalized intelligence
• Crystallized improves or stabilizes with age.
• Fluid starts to decline in late 20s or early 30s.
fluid intelligence
intellectual skills that largely depend on basic information- processing skills(e.g., ability to detect relationships among stimuli, analytical speed)-ability to reason abstractly

• Not subject specific. Generally not taught directly in school
• Believed to be influenced more by conditions in the brain
• Crystalized intelligence
intellectual skills that depend on accumulated knowledge and experience-knowledge that comes with education and experience within a culture.
• Measuring change in intellectual functioning- cross sectional design
o Susceptible to cohort effects that can create an inaccurate picture of timing and extent of decline
o Difference may be due to generational and historical differences related to when the person was born. Consider
• Changes in education
• Changes in work and technology
• Changes in health
Measuring change in intellectual functioning- longitudinal design
o Intellectual declines appeared later in life
o Found cohort difference on certain abilities
o Conclude that the steady decline seen with cross section data is an illusion
o Problems with longitudinal designs: expensive, selective dropouts
• Seattle Longitudinal Study - general design, measures,
o Tested subjects on perceptual speed and five mental abilities
• Verbal meaning, spatial orientation, number ability, inductive reasoning, word fluency
o Subjects aged 22-70 were tested at 7 year intervals with new subjects added each time (1956, 1963<…)- N=5000+
• Individual diff. factors predicting cognitive aging in adulthood: education
those with more education tend to retain higher level
• Individual diff. factors predicting cognitive aging in adulthood: work & lifestyle
using intellectual skills helps retain them
• Individual diff. factors predicting cognitive aging in adulthood: health status
• Chronic diseases may account for a good portion of age related cognitive decline.
• Physical fitness and exercise beneficial for mental fitness
changes in speed of processing
• Speed at which you process information declines
• Slower reaction times, slower perceptual processing
• Slower cognitive processes in general
Why does this happen?
Older adults take longer to decide if they need to respond.
Slowing of brain’s communication processes- disagreement about exact biological causes.
o Limits how much information we can take in
o Limits the ability to sequentially analyze information.
limitations of working memory
Working memory: the processing component through which current, conscious mental activity occurs; workbench
Amount of info people can retain in working memory declines from the 20s into the 60s
affects of aging on speech
Attention is more disorganized
Leads to difficulties with speech and with conversations
o See age related losses in retrieving words from long term memory
o Planning what to say and how to say it becomes harder
: recall vs. recognition
Declines depend on the type of memory- e.g., more decline with recall versus recognition.
• Cognitive strengths: expertise
ide #2-expertise
o Expertise compensates for cognitives decline
o Expertise involves having an extensive, highly organized knowledge and understanding of a particular domain
o Expert skills are often more automatic
o Expert knowledge often includes rapid recognition of patterns
o Experts have better strategies and shortcuts to problem solving.
prospective memory
remembering to engage in planned actions in the future
remote memory
very long term recall, from ages 10-30
• Cognitive strengths: wisdom
o Typically believed to reach capacity in old age
o Defined as expert knowledge that focuses on the pragmatics of life and involves judgment and advice on crucial life issues
teminal decline
marked acceleration in deterioration of cognitive functioning prior to death.
Cognitive strengths: selective optimization with compensation,
Selective optimization with compensation
o Behaviors of strategies undertaken to make the most of limited physical energies and cognitive resources
• Narrow goals
• Choose personally valued activities
• Devote diminishing resources to valued activities
o Compensate
• Find creative ways to overcome limitations
Cognitive strengths: practical problem solving
In solving problems collaboratively, elders seem to compensate for moments of cognitive difficulty, yielding enhanced accomplishment of life tasks.
Cognitive strengths: creativity
creativity in middle adulthood frequently reflects a transition from a largely egocentric concern with self expression to more altruistic goals
• Concerns with Baltes’ wisdom conclusions
o Work by baltes indicated that age is no guarantee of wisdom
o Type of life experience makes a difference.
Concerns about these findings
Highly selected, misrepresentative sample
Most were well educated
Asked to comment on very brief descriptions of personal problems with little contextual information
new findings on age & wisdom (from Grossman et al., 2010
• Grossman Na, Varnum, Park, Kitayama, And Nisbett (2010)
o Interviewed 247 adults- random sample from MI phone book
o Asked to read and respond to 3 newspaper articles describing an intergroup conflict
o Responses coded for level (103) fo 6 wisdom related dimensions (e.g., flexibility , search for compromise)
o Older participants scored higher for each dimension and composite
o Ina second study, one year later, tested them again (N-200) but with 3 interpersonal conflicts from dear baby column
o Older participants scored higher for 4/6 dimensions and composite.
• Erikson’s psychosocial conflict of generativity vs. stagnation
• Generativity involves reaching out to others in ways that give to and guide the next generation
o Negative outcome is stagnation or self absorption- preoccupied with themselves- lack of involvement or concern for young people or future generations
different ways generativity is expressed
• Biological generativity-conceive and give birth
• Parental generativity-nurturing children
• Work generativity-working with children; mentoring adults
• Cultural generativity e.g., creative output, politics
• Levinson’s midlife transition
Years 40-45
• Transition is a time of turmoil and confusion- work to reevaluate life- what do I really want?
4 developmental tasks of middle adulthood
• Task: reconcile 4 opposing tendencies within the self
o Young old-seek new ways of being both
o Destruction-creation-acknowledge past destructiveness; try to create products of value
o Masculinity-femininity-come to terms with both parts of self
o Engagement-separateness (with external world)
• Mid-life crisis – definition
a state of physical and psychological distress that arises when developmental tasks threaten to overwhelm a person’s internal resources and social support system
popular view vs. current research evidence (e.g., Valliant, Chiriboga
Current Research Evidence
• Little Evidence that 40s is a period of exceptional stress
• Others found few crises in their samples.
o Valliant 1977- Harvard graduates-few examples
o Chiriboga-1989- random samples- 2-5%
• Crisis is not a universal experience.
• Seven changes in self-concept and personality
• 1. Rise in introspection
• 2. Changes in possible selves- future oriented representations of what one hopes to become and is afraid of becoming
o –now fewer, more modest, more concrete
• 3. Increase in self acceptance-less self critical
• 4. Increase in autonomy (independence and commitment to personal values)
• 5. Increase in sense of environmental mastery
• 6. Increase in effective coping strategies
• 7. Increase in androgyny
possible selves
future oriented representations of what one hopes to become and is afraid of becoming
o –now fewer, more modest, more concrete
factors that promote psychological well-being at mid-life
good health and exercise
sense of control and personal life investment
positive social relationships
a good marriage
mastery of multiple roles
facts and fictions about empty nest syndrome
• Empty nest syndrome= emotional crisis, typically linked to sadness and depression, brought on by children leaving home
Crisis is not the norm
o Many report increased happiness, marital satisfaction, and sense of well being after children leave
o Parent child relationships often improve
new roles (e.g., kinkeeper)
o Need dto adjust and adopt new roles (e.g. kinkeeper) and routines
sandwich generation
competing demands of aging parents and children
• Changes in marital satisfaction
• Cross secional data show that marital satisfaction changes over time, and typically follows a U shaped pattern
nature of marriage at mid-life
• Stage of stability or working through
o Accepting of relationship and its strengths and weaknesses
o Conflict patterns-predictable, familiar
o Expectations are more realistic
predictors of marital success (Lauer et al., 1995)
• Lauer et al. (1995) reasons for marital success:
o Seeing spouse as best friend
o Liking spouse as a person
o Viewing marriage as a long term commitment
o Laughing together frequently
o Agreeing on aims and goals
5 types of long-term marriages from Cuber & Harroff
• The conflict habituated- underlying tension and conflict-quarreling
• The devitalized-discrepancy from earlier years-characterized now by indifference
• The passive congenial- indifference has been norm through out
• The vital- genuine warmth and closeness
• The total relationship- like but ________?
types of long term marriages criticisms
o Stable categories?
o Do other couple types exist?
o Cohort effect?
Allen & Olsen (2001) study
o 415 African American couples
o Classified based on ten different domains
o Produced 5 types of couples, matched early model
o Traditional couple instead of passive congenial
• Moderate overall satisfaction, porr sex life, poor communication skills-strong, mutual religious orientation
• Why might this change exist?
divorce at mid-life
10% occur at midlife, midlife gains in practical problem solving and effective coping strategies may reduce the stressful impact of divorce
feminization of poverty
a trend in which women who support themselves or their families have become the majority of the adult population living in poverty, regardless of age and ethnic group.
• Nature of caring for aging parents
90% of help comes from adult children, usually female
Caring for aging parent
challenges and stressors of caregiving
• Typically occurs suddenly with little time for preparation
• Difficult emotionally to watch decline
• Duration is uncertain and parent typically declines over time and becomes more dependent
• Psychological costs depression (30-50%), resentment
• Financial pressures
o Often difficult on the aging parent as well-now dependent
o Buffers: social support, secure attachment style, rewarding career
• Grandparenthood
valued elder
immortality through descendants
re-involvement with personal past
average life expectancy
the number of years that an individual in a particular year can expect to live, starting at any given age
• Demographics of older adults from lecture
Number of people 65 and older in US had risen tremendously
• 1900-4.1%, currently-12.9%
Trend likely to increase
Fastest growing US population segments
• First-adults 45-54
• Second-adulrts 85 and older
functional age
actual age competence and performance
maximum lifespan
the genetic limit to length of life for a person free of external risk factors
life expectancy crossover
surviving members of low SES ethnic minority groups live longer than members of white majority.
primary aging
another term for biological aging, or genetically influenced declines that affect all members of our species and take place even in the context of overall good health
secondary aging
declines due to hereditary defects and nefative environmental influences, such as poor diet, lack of exercise, disease, substance abuse, environmental pollution and psychological stress.
Physical changes – nervous system
brain weight declines, neuron loss occurs throughout the cerebral cortex but at different rates among different regions.
the cerebellem- 25% loss
glial cells -decrease
autonomic nervous system declines- at risk during heat waves and cold spells
Physical changes –immune system
the immune system is more likely to malfunction by turning against normal body tissues in an autoimmune response
Physical changes – sleep
require 7 hours of sleep per night, insomnia affects 20 to 40% of older adults
• Benefits of exercise and good, balanced nutrition
a carefully planned exercise program can minimize declines in strength, joint flexibility and range of movement
adaptations to physical changes of late adulthood
older adults who avoid confronting age related declines who think these inevitable and uncontrollable and who ruminate about their damaging effects tend to be passive when faced with them and to report more physical and psychological adjustment difficulties.
overcoming stereotypes of aging
those in the negative stereotype condition displayed a more intense physiological response to stress along with worse handwriting, memory performance, self efficacy and will to live
• Nature and types of arthritis
a condition of painful, stiff and sometimes swollen joints
osteoarthritis-wear and tear on cartilage at end of bones.
rheumatoid arthritis- autoimmue response inflammation of connective tissue, involves whole body, tends to increase after menopause
• Alzheimer’s Disease – symptoms
severe memory problems and depression. skilled and purposeful movements disintegrate
• Alzheimer’s Disease – nature of brain deterioration
structural and chemical brain deterioration is associated with gradual loss of many aspects of thought and behavior.
• Alzheimer’s Disease –risk factors,
familial-runs in family
sporadic- no family history
african americans- more susceptible
• Alzheimer’s Disease – protective factors
drug and non drug therapies
mediterranean diet with fish, unsaturated fat and red wine
education and active lifestyle
• Erikson’s conflict of ego integrity vs. despair
involves coming to terms w/ones life
life review
a form of reminiscence whose goal is to achieve greater self understanding
ego transcendence
assessing and realizing one's contributions to the future
• Nature of self-concept
includes life domains, hodbbies, interests, social participation, family, health and personality traits.
improving, achieving and attaining.
agreeableness-generous and good natures
acceptance of change-the capacity to accept life's twists and turns, many of which are beyond one's control, is vital for positive functioning in late adulthood.
Positivity effects
more positive than negative self evaluation. and positive, multifaceted self definitions predicted psychological well being in late adulthood.
Labouvie-Vief’s notion of affect optimization
the ability to maximize positive emotion and dampen negative emotion
Effects of religion and spirituality on health and well-being
a mature sense of spirituality, permitting anticipation of death with calm composure.
not neccessarily the same as religion.
older adults attach great value to spirituality and religious beliefs.
use religion to cope
disengagement theory
mutual withdrawal between elders and society takes place in anticipation of death.
little evidence that disengagement is normative.w withdrawal may not be elders preference. often reduced finances.
activity theory
disengagement results from social barriers. optimal aging occurs when person stays active. having larger social networks doesn't always produce happiness other dynamics involved.
continuity theory
rather than maintaining a certain activity level, most aging adults strive to maintain a personal system- an identity and a set of personality dispositions, interests, roles and skills that promotes life satisfaction by ensuring consistency between their past and anticipated future.
socioemotional selectivity theory
social networks become more selective as we age. changes in functions of social interactions.
elders emphasize emotion regulating function of interactions
• Social convoy theory
some relationships are more important than others.
relationships develop over time.
social relationships are influenced by individual and situational characteristics.
functions of friendships
strong predictor of mental health more important than contact with younger family members
intimacy and companionship
a source of acceptance
a link to larger community
protection from the psychological consequences of loss
a cosmic and transcendent perspective directed forward and outward beyond the self
peck's tasks for developing ego integrity
ego differentiation vs. work role preoccupation
ego transcendence vs. ego preoccupation
body transcendence vs. body preoccupation
ego differentiation vs. work role preoccupation
redefining one's worth in terms of something other than work roles
ego transcendence vs. ego preoccupation
assessing and realizing one's contributions to the future
body transcendence vs. body preoccupation
coping with declining physical well being