Psychology of Adulthood and Aging

The period from early adulthood to old age constitutes a major portion of an individual's life. In fact, it may constitute 75% of one*s life-span. This course will examine this period of the lifespan from an interdisciplinary perspective, stressing the interaction of psychological, socio-cultural, and biological aspects of human development. The concepts to be covered include:

  1. theoretical models of development
  2. physiological and cognitive development
  3. personality and social development
  4. problems/crises associated with adulthood/old age.

Particular emphasis will be placed upon examining the myths and misconceptions we have in this society concerning this period of the life-span.


Other information:

  • How to write a literature review

  • Points of Interest which can be found on the Woolf Gerontology Page

    Theoretical Perspectives Relevant to Developmental Psychology

    Various theoretical perspectives within the field of developmental psychology are currently being debated. These perspectives influence one's analyses of developmental theory and research. This paper discusses the major world view and paradigms used by developmental psychologists, the plethora of terms used to describe development, research designs and their impact on developmental theory, and the impact of the context on development.

    Developmental Research Methods

    Discussion of common research designs used in the study of human development.

    Knowledge of Aging Quiz

    How much do you think you know about the aging process or older adults? For example, do you know what happens to memory or intelligence with age? Do you know what percent of older adults are suffering from some form of dementia or are living in a long-term care facility (nursing home)?

    Elder Abuse and Neglect

    As the number and percentage of individuals 65 and over has increased in this country, so has the incidence of elder abuse. Unfortunately, the prevalence and nature of this growing problem has generally remained hidden from public view. It is imperative that both professionals and lay persons become more aware of the scope and many issues surrounding this sensitive topic.

    Long-Term Care Facility Selection Guide

    Tips for Selecting a Short-Term/Long-Term Care Facility (Nursing Home) - The process of selecting a short/long-term care facility can be a difficult one. Often the decision needs to be made quickly and occurs within the context of strong emotions such as quilt, fear, and doubt. Therefore, the tips provided may serve to focus one's thoughts and enable the best decision to be made for all involved.


    American society has been described as maintaining a stereotypic and often negative perception of older adults. This negative and/or stereotypic perception of aging and aged individuals is readily apparent in such areas as language, media, and humor. The term used to describe this stereotypic and often negative bias against older adults is "ageism".

    Gay and Lesbian Aging

    Many myths and negative stereotypes exist concerning the aged and the homosexual. Together, the older gay or lesbian suffers from a double stigma in American society. The image of the older gay man or lesbian as depressed, isolated, desperate, and sexless is prevalent. This image, however, does not hold up empirically.

    Life Review

    It has been theorized that all individuals experience the life review during later life. According to Butler(1963), as individuals realize that there is limited time remaining to them, they will examine what kind of life they have lived, and whether they feel their life was a success or failure. The life review process and the knowledge of completion of being are thus, according to this theory, inextricably woven together. But does this theory hold up under empirical scrutiny? Does one's life scroll before the mind's eye as one approaches the end of their life?