Adult Life & Theories of Aging - HHS4M-ConEd-2012

Later Life & Theories of Aging
Unit 5 – Chapter 13
The Stability Template Model
• Assumes that individuals do not change once
they achieve adulthood
• Based on the belief that the basic personality
is formed in childhood
• This model explains that if an individual’s
identity is stable over time, they will respond
to events and stresses in life in a consistent
• There will be variations in behaviour from
person to person, but an individual’s
behaviour will be predictable
The Orderly Change Model
• Explains that an individual’s identity is formed
earlier in life but changes through interaction
with the environment in the present
• Daniel Levinson suggests that in midlife,
individuals examine their Dream, the life
structure they have been building in early
adulthood, and define a new life structure for
themselves in later life based on changing
• Suggests that identity changes
according to the options available in society
The Theory of Random Change
• Explains that fate, or non-normative events,
causes change in identity because of how
individuals adapt to their new roles
• Patterns of behaviour exist because
cohorts are exposed to the same events
• Although the behaviour of individuals within
generations might conform to a pattern, it is
not possible to predict the behaviour of future
Social Construction Theory
• The actions and feelings of individuals have no
intrinsic meaning of their own but are given
meaning by the theoretical perspectives that
are developed for their explanation
• Individuals’ behaviour does not necessarily
differ from place to place or from generation
to generation, but the meaning ascribed to
the behaviour changes to reflect
the expectations of the society
• Meaning productivity
• The range of ways people are able to reach
out to leave their mark on future generations
• By investing in the future and caring for
others, individuals can develop the virtue of
• However, by becoming self-indulgent, focusing
only on their own lives, individuals do not
develop, a state that Erikson called stagnation
• Individuals may have a need to nurture others,
but society expects adults to take
responsibility for themselves, care for their
children and pass on the culture to their
• Therefore, adults in their 30s and 40s who are
not ready for steady employment and a family
are considered to be “out of time” with the
social clock
• People who do not meet the time lines of the
society in which they live might be judged as
“immature” and be encouraged to “settle
• Generativity is a universal task of adulthood,
but the form and the timing are defined by
the society
• However, for some individuals, generativity
is not attainable
• They may feel that they cannot generate good
products and outcomes, that they are unable
to leave a positive mark on their world
• Their struggle to tend to and maintain
themselves may be so taxing that they cannot
find the resources to care for those who will
eventually survive them
Forms of Generativity
• Generativity is the motivation for the rest of
adult life
• Psychologist John Kotre states that because of
the limits of fertility, especially for women,
generativity must be defined as something
more than reproduction and parenthood
Forms of Generativity
1) Biological generativity or parenthood
2) Parental generativity or the raising of
3) Technical generativity or the passing on of
4) Cultural generativity or the sharing of culture
and tradition
Biological Generativity
• Parenthood is occurring later in life for most
• As a result of the impact of contraception,
parenthood has become a choice
• Individuals saw less need for children when
improved health enabled them to live longer
and healthier lives in which they could
accomplish their goals
• Therefore, there is currently less biological
Parental Generativity
• Attained through interaction with children,
as active participants in parenting
• In the past, women bore most of the
responsibility for childcare and parenting, so
parental generativity was assumed to be the
motivation for a woman’s life in adulthood
• Now, men have gained greater opportunities
for parental generativity as they share an
active parenting role with their working wives
Parental Generativity
• Increased life expectancy is changing the
nature of parental generativity
• A longer life allows individuals to have longer
connections with past and future generations
within the family
• Grandparenting provides additional parental
generativity roles
• Those who did not have children achieve
parental generativity by taking on the role of
“guardian” and caring for others’ children as
teachers or childcare providers
Technical Generativity
• Another way of providing for the future
and leaving one’s mark on the world that
extend beyond family
• Technical Generativity means teaching
knowledge and skills to the next generation so
that they can develop competence
• Parents or aunts and uncles teaching children,
teachers instructing students and older men
and women mentoring younger adults are
some examples of the ways technical
generativity is expressed
Cultural Generativity
• Means creating and sharing ideas
and artifacts that will contribute to the
cultural experience of society
• Whether by producing beneficial products or
services at work or by expressing creativity by
sewing painting, singing, writing or dancing,
individuals can achieve cultural generativity
• Like Technical Generativity, Cultural
Generativity can be achieved by developing
and nurturing ideas
Is Marriage a Rewarding Investment?
• Those who maintain their marriages into old
age are healthier, live longer and are happier
than their widowed, divorced or single peers
• Post-retirement marriages are happier,
perhaps the happiest since the time of being
• This may be that older people
are better at resolving problems
or that senior couples are tough
marriage survivors
Is Marriage a Rewarding Investment?
• 50% of married Canadians say they are very
satisfied with life, compared with only 38% of
the common-law population
• Among widows and widowers, about 40% are
very satisfied with life, compared
with 35% of divorced men and
women and 27% of separated men
and women
Is Marriage a Rewarding Investment?
• Older couples may continue to interact using
strategies that they established early in the
marriage, but they seem to perceive each
other’s behaviour in a more positive way
• However, there is evidence that those who are
happiest in middle-aged and older marriages
were also happiest before they married
• Couples who are happy are more
likely to marry, recover from the
transitions and stay married
• Remarriage is becoming more
common in Canada for several reasons
• Improved health and a longer life expectancy
enable widows and widowers to consider
remarriage, especially after the early death of
a spouse
• About 16% of widowed people have married
• In 2006, 43% of adults who had
divorced were remarried
• 10% of Canadians are married for the second
time and 1 % are married for the third time
• Although many believe remarriages are
motivated by money, the research does not
support this idea, the second time around,
people still marry for love and romance
Establishing A Second Marriage
• Both partners must first recover from their
first marriage and get over the grief, anger and
other intense emotions that result from
divorce or bereavement
• Those with lasting remarriages often have a
more practical than romantic attitude that
allows them to deal with
conflict under the watchful
eyes of children, in-laws
and ex-spouses
Establishing A Second Marriage
• A second marriage may fail if
1) The individual’s problems from the first
marriage continue in the second
2) Remarriage occurs later in life and coincides
with greater involvement in work than during
the first marriage, so there may be conflicting
marital and work roles
3) Couples have difficulty negotiating a new
marital system when they both have old
strategies that have been established in
other roles in their lives
Establishing A Second Marriage
• In second marriages as with first marriages,
the older couples are when they marry, the
more durable the marriage will be
• Older widowed and divorced people remarry
for similar reasons to those in middle age;
they seek companionship,
social support, health and
well-being, financial
standing and sexual
Establishing A Second Marriage
• Widowers are 5 times more likely to
marry than widows because there is
a larger pool of eligible women
• A long-term stable marriage is associated with
significant health benefits for men and
women of all demographic groups
• It may be that the healthiest people marry or
that married people have healthier, less risky
Establishing A Second Marriage
• Married couples provide social support and
care for one another, which improves health
and longevity
• Since society expects that individuals will
delay remarriage until an appropriate period
of mourning has passed, there is usually a
longer waiting period for remarriage after the
death of a spouse than after divorce
• Remarriage after widowhood usually reflects
the success of the previous marriage and the
desire to achieve that happy state again
• Marriage is much more likely to be
dissolved by death in old age, not by
• The death of a spouse is the most stressful
and disruptive event in life
• Because women have traditionally married
men who are several years older and because
the life expectancy of men is shorter by
several years, women are more likely than
men to be widowed
• Women will probably spend their final
years alone, while men are likely to die with a
spouse and family around them
• In 2001, 42% of older women were widowed
compared to 11.2% of men
• Men have more difficulty adjusting to the
death of their spouse than women do
• Men tend to have a greater dependence on
their wives for meeting their needs
• Traditionally, men have fewer close friends
and depend on their partners for
• Men have performed fewer household
activities in the past, so the loss of their wife
has a greater impact on their lifestyle
• The older a woman is when her husband dies,
the more likely she is to live alone
• Three-quarters of Canada’s older widows are
living on their own, but few of them report
being lonely
• Women are less likely to remarry than men
• Women compared to men, have more actively
maintained family ties and have
closer relationships with
their children and friends
The Stages of Death
• Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross made it her
life’s work to study the process of dying to
learn how to support those who are dying
• She identified 5 stages of death, which are
experienced in order, if there is time
1) Denial of the diagnosis and attempting to
find a solution or another explanation
2) Anger at the fact of death, which might be
directed at anyone, including self, family or
health-care staff
The Stages of Death
3) Bargaining, with promises to alter who they
are and what they do, to change the
4) Depression, arising from the certainty of
death and the resignation that there is no
5) Acceptance, indicating that the individual has
come to terms with his or her fate and is
ready to prepare for the end of life
• The grieving process occurs in 3 distinct but
overlapping phases over a period of several
1) In the shock phase, bereaved individuals
experience periods of numbness and crying.
Daily activities will be disrupted and are
completed with little thought or pleasure. At
this time, others might wish to increase their
closeness, but the bereaved person might
prefer time alone.
2) In the disorganization phase, there is a need
to talk about the deceased person and vent
feelings of sadness, anger, anxiety and guilt.
A person might be less able to function in
day-to-day life because of the necessity to
make lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, other
people are less available to talk after the
brief period of mourning.
3) In the reorganization phase, new routines
have been established for day-to-day life and
there is less evident grief. The bereaved
person has a new relationship with the
deceased as someone they remember rather
than someone with whom they share their
Unit 5 Test Outline
a) 10 Multiple Choice
b) 5 Short Answer
1) Photocopied text book package on ‘The
History of Adulthood’
2) Middle & Later Life: Chapter 12 Power Point
3) Later Life & Theories of Aging: Chapter 13
Power Point