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Psychological Aging

includes changes in personality, mental functioning and sense of self during the adult years

Social Aging

changes in people that occur along with or perhaps as the result of historical change

Societal Aging

demographic, structural and cultural transformations affects every aspect of social life from social institutions to the experiences of aging individuals

Chronological age

age measured by the time (years and months) that something or someone has existed

Functional age

a person's physical and psychological well-being

Life stage

a segment of one's life that spans specific ages, and in which a predictable pattern of growth an development occur.


prejudice and discrimination against older people


the normal time between successive generations


a group people having approximately the same age

Generational Consciousness

generations characterized by common world views that distinguished it from other generations.

Social Gerontology

sub-field of gerontology that studies the non physical aspects of aging

Life course perspective

analyzes personal attributes, roles, life events, and social/historical aspects of events

life chances

the opportunities people have to provide themselves with material goods, positive living conditions, and favorable life experiences

Multiple jeopardy

occupying several disadvantaged positions simultaneously compounds or risk of negative outcomes in old age

Ecological fallacy

improper use of aggregate data to draw conclusions about the characteristics of individual cases or groups

Social construct

any idea or pattern of behavior that is created and sustained by human beings in the course of social interaction


state of being dissimilar, composition from unlike elements


older adults whose incomes fall between too high to qualify for "safety net" programs and are too poor to guarantee financial stability

Life History

A research method wherein the researcher listens to the telling of a life story for the purpose of understanding a particular aspect of an individual's life

Event History Analysis

Analysis of the recall data provided by individuals about their life. The life pattern is usually characterized as being in one of a number of states (e.g. education)

Comparative Studies

use data from different sources in order to evaluate them against each other


one has little or no control over the allocation of the treatments or other factors being studied

age effects

the effect that aging has on the body

period effects

phenomenon in which a historical event or major social trend contributes to the unique shape and outlook of a birth cohort

cohort effects

Effects due to a person's time of birth, era, or generation but not to actual age.


study dropouts, darwin's theory

life course fallacy

interpreting age differences in data collected at one time across birth cohorts as if the differences were caused by the process of aging, without ruling out other possibilities

cohort sequential designs

combined longitudinal and cross-sectional approach; advantages of cross-sectional; also assesses potential cohort effects

secondary data analysis

Analysis of data collected by others.


erroneous assumption is made that future (or past) cohorts will age (have aged) in the same fashion as current cohorts under study


the period during which something is functional (as between birth and death)

life expectancy

the average age that a newborn infant can expect to attain in a particular time and place

demographic transition theory

main factors underlying population dynamics are industrialization and growth of modern cultural values

population pyramid

A bar graph representing the distribution of population by age and sex.

dependency ratio

The number of nonworking members compared to working members for a given population

modernization theory

a theory asserting that as societies developed they would take on a set of common characteristics including democracy and capitalism

human development

the scientific study of the changes that occur in people as they age from conception until death


An additional psychosocial stage--a cosmic and transcendent perspective directed forward and outward, beyond the self

structural lag

mismatch between changing expectations about aging and the inertia of social arrangements

fictive kinship

granting someone who is unrelated the title or rights of a family member

intimacy at a distace

emotional and social bonds between parents and children are maintained across households

inevitable aging

changes that automatically happen with age (hormone cycles, ect)

usual aging

things that happen to most people (wrinkling skin, hearing loss, ect)

pathological aging

stressors trigger seemingly age related ailments

successful aging

overall mind body and spirit health in terms of getting older

why would rapid aging of the population create social problems?

care for this new population, financial burden

micro social gerontology

behaviors attitudes and feelings shaped by personalities and one's social situation

macro social gerontology

the organizations and institutions that create conditions requiring a response from individuals

micro life course perspective

personal development's impact on decisions made in someones lifetime

macro life course perspective

social and historical factors impact on decisions made in someones lifetime

cumulative (dis)advantage

all of the factors that could help or hinder you (socioeconomic status, gender, race, ethnicity, ect)

difference between heterogenity and diversity?

heterogenity is differences in the older population, whereas diversity is based on social standing (race, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, ect.)

theories- what are they and what is their role in social research

"the driving force behind research", dictating both the specific questions that need to be asked and the choice of the most appropriate analytical techniques to answer them.

event history analysis

attempts to address when in particular life events happens or in the social forces that shape its occurance, the frame of reference draws attention to a particular event of interest (retirement, enactment of new social policy, entry into a nursing home, divorce, ect.)

cohort sequential design

as one age group moves into a new cohort, their views change, but these views are mirrored for every other group in that same age cohort designation

important ethical issues in aging research

obligation to do no harm, most no coerce into participating, some older adults may bend the truth in fear of the possible repercussions

importance of population aging

means that the country is becoming more developed

three ways populations age

migration, mortality and fertility rates

life expectancy changes for m v. w

the types of jobs they have, less physically strenuous

crossover effect

less high risk behavior, and because women engage in more preventative medicine

young society

lots of young people, few older people, high mortality, high fertility

gender/race on life expectancy

whites highest, women highest, others lower

demographic transition theory

represents the transition from high birth and death rates to low birth and death rates as a country develops from a pre-industrial to an industrialized economic system.

measures of population aging- proportioned aged

considers the proportion of a society that is older

measures of population aging- population pyramids

graphic illustration of the age and sex structure of a population, helps make predictions about the shape of our population pyramid in the future

measures of population aging- median ages

single numbers that are often used in conjunction with other measures of population aging

measures of population aging- aging index

ratio of older people to children under the age of 15

measures of population aging- dependency ratios

population that falls within are categories traditionally thought to be economically dependent: under 15, over 65.

measures of population aging- life expectancy

averaged length of time the member of a population can expect to live

how are other countries aging in comparison to the U.S.?

developing countries aging rapidly, modernized countries aging slowly

consequences of geographic distribution of the older population?

snowbirds (people who go south for the winter) take a toll on retailers and stores

recent and future changes to the racial and ethnic composition of the older adult population in the U.S.

growing, changing the social structure along with the rise of these non-white races

myths of American population, how do these myths mask diversity?

norman rockwell painting-eque ideas, hiding the truth about who is playing what role in their family, community, or otherwise

major developmental tasks in middle and old age?

figuring out how to balance leisure work and education

age norms, relation to the life course perspective

socially governened expectations and sanctions concerning the appropriateness of role acquisitions and behaviors as a function of chronological age

why is old age a "roleless role"?

they don't hold much responsibility that isn't for themselves

are age norms flexible?

Expectations about how a person of a certain age should behave,

age structure of modern American family, age-differentiated, age-integrated?

ideal is age differentiated, education work and leisure set aside for different times of life, realistically they're age-integrated and people experience education work and leisure in all parts of their lives

modified extended family

a variety of relatives live, not necessarily in the same household but in very close proximity to one another, interact on a frequent basis, and provide emotional and economic support for one another.

late-life family

past child bearing/raising age

core norms and expectations of family relationships

how close is the normal american family, spouses go into room without asking permission, parents go into kids room without asking permission

key familial relationships

sisters, brothers, spouses, parents, grandparents, ect

what happens to marital satisfaction over the life course?

timing, gender-related norms, dependency of marriage depends on the generation born in and the social norms of marriage then

old society

lots of older people, less young people, low mortality, low fertility

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