Theories of Aging
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What are micro theories?
theories about personal/individual experiences of aging
What are micro-macro theories?
theories about how older adults are observed in social environments
What are macro theories?
theories about large social structures
What is a proposition?
Supporting a theory by gathering empirical evidence
What is the micro theory of disengagement and when was it created?
- assumed to be gratifying
- proposed that normal aging involved mutual withdrawal that is universal, inevitable, and irreversible
- it was criticized that disengagement is not universal and not found in all cultures with no proof that it is gratifying
- contributed to our understanding that it does happen
- It was created in 1961
What is the Micro theory of Activity and when was it created?
- Assumes that disengagement is beyond our control, activity needs of older adults are the same as others', and that successful aging is active aging
- proposed the greater activity the more role support, the more role support the more positive self concept, and the more positive self concept the greater satisfaction
- criticisms: what is the definition of activity
- contributions: being informal with friends has shown to be the best way of predicting satisfaction in later life (social connections lead to well being)
- created in mid-late 1960s
What is the micro theory of continuity?
- assumptions: personality plays a major role in adjustment to aging, adult development is a continuous process, experiences at a given point in life prepare us for next stages
- propositions: attempt to preserve internal continuity as we age, attempt to preserve external continuity as we age
- criticisms: can't always maintain social roles, resilient aging
- contributions: personality is relatively steady across time from 30 years on
What is the Micro-Macro Theory of subculture and when was it created?
- assumptions: people lose status in old age, activity enhances the lives of older people
- propositions: subcultures develop via commonalities and exclusion, older adults experience both and maintain identity through subcultures, high status is achieved via both health and leadership
- criticisms: across the board not all old people create their own subculture (90% are integrated into the big culture as a whole), when older people find themselves in a group with older people they tend to form their own subcultures
- created in 1965
What is the Micro-Macro Theory of Exchange and when was it created?
- assumptions: society is made up of people pursuing goals, goals have costs and rewards, maximize rewards and minimize costs
- propositions: interaction drops with age, less to offer leads to disengagement, those with more to give stay in active relationships
- criticisms: sometimes you hang out with someone because you love them, social credit (returning assistance for assistance given earlier in life)
- contributions: no reciprocal relationship to offer due to some level of disengagement
- created in 1975
What is the Micro-Macro theory of social constructionism?
- assumptions: human beings are active creators of social reality
- propositions: we created reality through share meanings and symbols, reality can be altered at any point
- criticisms: it doesn't give enough credit to the things that make it hard to change the social reality/constructionism of society
- contributions: we create the social reality of aging, the beliefs toward graying hair and actions of elderly but we can change it
What is the Macro theory of modernization and when was it created?
- assumptions: social development and aging experience are linked, social development path is linear from least to most, all societies eventually follow this path, aging was revered in the past
- propositions: health technology lowers social status of older adults, economic technology lowers social status of older adults, urbanization lowers social status of older adults, mass education lowers social status of older adults
- criticisms: all older adults had high social status in the past, families live in multigenerational households when necessary, retirement has always existed for those ready and able to retire
- contributions: realization that when society changes the structural level changes the social experience of aging
- created in 1960s
Who is the mother of gerontology?
What is the Macro theory of Age stratification?
- assumptions: all societies group people into social categories, social categories lead to social identities, social categories rank us, life experienced is circumscribed by this ranking
- propositions: social structures change over time, successive cohorts experience life differently
- criticisms: high focus on age
- contributions: historical time affects the aging experience and age affects the historical time
What is the Macro theory of Age integration and when was it created?
- assumptions: society has age stratified and integrated institutions, no such thing as completely age segregated society, most are involved in both at same time
- propositions: outdated social structures lead to structural lag which leads to the exclusion of older adults
- criticisms: no discussion on who has the power that leads to structural lag
- contributions: the idea of structural lag(being aware that we have lack of integration of older people in society)
- created in early 2000s
What is the power and inequality theory of political economy and when was it created?
- assumptions: social constructionist, power struggles, inequality
- propositions: powerful define, leading to inequality
- criticisms: its not young people make laws against older people (power struggles)
- contributions: there is inequality and social forces affecting people
- created in 1980s
What is the power and inequality theory of feminism?
- assumptions: power, socially constructed, women lacking power, male model
- propositions: aging differs for men and women, power explains, ignored gender effects
- criticisms: original feminist theory all about women and not about the societal differences in women (rich vs. poor)
- contributions: women age differently
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