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Environmental Theories

also can be called stochastic or non-genetic theories


caused by accumulation of insults from the environment

Environmental toxins include

ultra-violet, cross-linking agents (unsaturated fats), toxic chemicals (metal ions, Mg, Zn), radiation and viruses; and can result in errors in protein synthesis and in DNA synthesis/genetic sequences, cross-linkage of molecules, mutations.

Psychological Theories: Stess Theory

homeostatic imbalances result in changes in structural and chemical composition

General Adaptation Syndrome (Selye)

initial alarm reaction, progressing to stage of resistance, progressing to the stage of exhaustion; linked to hormonal theory

Erikson's bipolar theory of lifespan development: stages of later adulthood

Integrity: individual exhibits full unification of personality; life is viewed with satisfaction, optimisim, and growth. Despair: lack of ego integration; feelings of regret and disappointment and fear of death

Sociological theories

life experiences/lifestyle influences aging process

activity theory

older people that are socially active show improved adjustment to the aging process and role enactment is essential for a positive self image and satisfaction

disengagement theory

older adult is distance from society; reduction in social roles leads to further isolation and life dissatisfaction


increasing reliance on others for meeting physical and emotion needs; focus is on self

Ingrated model of aging

aging is complex, multifactorial and not one single theory about aging can adequately explain it.

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