PowerPoint Presentation - Socioemotional Aspects of Aging

Socioemotional Aspects of
Based on information from: Fingerman,
K.L. & Baker, B.N., Chap 9 in Wilmoth
& Ferraro, Gerontology: Perspectives &
Issues. New York: Springer Publishing.
• “Prior to the 20th century, extended
families dominated an agrarian American
economy with family farms.” (p. 183)
• Rise of the “nuclear family”
• Did we throw Grandma off the train?
Who studied what?
• Psychologists--early-mid 2th Century:
Cognitive Changes in Aging
• Sociologists: Variation in O.A.’s
relationships as a function of ascribed
• Anthropologists: Cultural aspects
Social Ties in Later Life
• “Older adults tend to have fewer social
partners than younger adults” (p.187)
• Why? Is that a bad thing?
• An interesting test of the Socioemotional
Selectivity Theory: The Hong Kong study
• “In sum, evidence indicates that older
adults have fewer social partners because
they want to spend time with the people
they care about most.” (p. 189)
Relationships: Problematic Aspects
• Why? Possibly emotional regulation
• “Hanging out with an older crowd”
• Less likely to encounter annoying people
• Simply avoid getting upset or avoid
annoying situations altogether
• In short, we “mellow out”!
The Social Input Model of
Socioemotional aging (SIMS)
• “…focuses on understanding the effects of
social relationships on individuals of
different ages.”
• “Sociologists and public health scholars
look @ how social structures, contexts and
health contribute to relationship patterns in
these situations. For example,
sociologists might demonstrate that older
individuals with better health or more
resources who better adaptation on a
variety of measures of physical or
emotional functioning.” (p.186)
For Your Consideration—A Couple
of Examples
• Schwirian, K.P. & Schwirian, P.M. (1993).
Neighboring, residential satisfaction, and
psychological well-being in urban elders. Journal
of Community Psychology, 21 (285-99)
• Schwirian, P.M., Schwirian, K.P. & Weiss, C.H.
(1995). Health behaviors, life orientation, and
health decline among older adults. Journal of
Mental Health & Aging. 1 (111-125)
Theoretical Background:
Psychological Well-Being
• A multi-dimensional concept
• Incorporates an evaluation of and estimate
of satisfaction with both past and present
life and life events.
Residential Satisfaction
• The residential context for older adults is
composed of many natural, social, and
person-made features.
• Some sociologists argue: The subjective
environment is more important to
psychological well-being than is the
objective environment.
• One form of social support
• Can be:
– A significant community resource to older
women who live alone
– Part of the help network as health deteriorates
Personal Resources
• “The basic premise of this paper is that
residential satisfaction and neighboring
contribute positively to the psychological
well-being of urban elders. However, we
also assert that their importance can only
be fully understood when personal
resources are taken into account as well.”
(p. 288)
Personal Resources, cont’d
• Multidimentional
The Study:
• WHO? Random sample of 254 persons 60
y.o. and over in CMH SMSA
• Two-stage approach: random digit dial w/
follow-up mailed questionnaire
The Study: cont’d
• The Variables
• Dependent: psychological well-being
• Independents: personal resources;
residential satisfaction; neighboring;
• Control: age; race; sex
The Study, cont’d
• Analysis:
• Structural equation modeling using
Bentler’s EQS program.
What We Found
• “Thus, with personal resources in the
equation, residential satisfaction,
neighboring, and race do not have
significant effects of psychological wellbeing. It appears that whatever effects
were observed were due to the mutual
association of psychological well-being
and the neighborhood variables to
personal resources.”
Another Example for your
• Schwirian, Schwirian, & Weiss (1995).
Health Behaviors, Life Orientation &
Health Decline Among Older Adults
• This paper addresses a central issue in
the health of older adults: the extent to
which elderly people forestall health
decline by engaging in positive health
behaviors and maintaining a positive
outlook on life.
The Study
• WHO? 138 of the 254 o.a.’s in the first
– Dependent: Health Decline
– Independent: Health Behavior (SLS) & Life
Orientation (psych. Well-being & psych
– Control: Health @ Time 1; age; marital status;
sex; SES; race
What We Found
• “Health behaviors and outlook on life for
these older adults had a positive effect on
their health—at least as the respondents
saw it.”
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