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Social Structures, Aging, and Self-Regulation in the Elderly

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Social Structures, Aging, and Self-Regulation in the Elderly

SKU# 9780826124067


  • K. Warner Schaie PhD
  • Laura Carstensen PhD

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This collection considers ways in which societal contexts influence aging by influencing self-regulatory processes. No one doubts that the social contexts in which individuals develop exert strong influence on life trajectories. Those born into environments that provide high quality education, supportive social relations, and economic assets do better in old age than those born into environments bereft of such resources. The extent of this influence, however, is only beginning to be revealed. Recent research shows that life experiences influence basic brain structures (e.g. the effect of musical training on neural organization) and functions (e.g. inflammatory processes), and that social embeddedness may even protect against Alzheimer's disease. Similarly, education increasingly appears to have a "real" effect on neural integrity. Thus, societal contexts may not simply open or close doors for individuals, but may influence self-regulatory processes at the most basic levels of functioning.

Although social structures are generally seen as the independent variables that affect individual aging, it is also possible to think of a lifetime development of self-regulatory processes leading to behaviors in old age that can have impact on and modify societal structures. Two parts of this book consider self-regulation as the dependent variable, asking how social contexts influence cognitive, emotional, and self-regulatory processes. The third part reverses the question, treating self-regulation as the independent variable and retirement and physical health as dependent variables. In this part, consideration is given to how the effectiveness of self-regulation influences physical and economic outcomes in old age.

Product Details 

  • Publication Date July 06, 2006
  • Page Count 256
  • Product Form Hardback
  • ISBN 13 9780826124067
  • EISBN 9780826124128

Table of Contents 

  1. Societal Influences That Affect Cognitive Functioning in Old Age, Selam Negash and Ronald C. Petersen

  2. Commentary: Societal Factors in Cognitive Aging: One Eye Wide Shut?, Naftali Raz
    Commentary: Societal Influences on Cognition in Historical Context, K. Warner Schaie
  3. Wisdom in Social Context, Ursula M. Staudinger, Eva-Marie Kessler and Jessica Dorner

  4. Commentary: The Dynamic Relationship between Age Stereotypes and Wisdom in Old Age, Becca Levy and Corey Pilver
  5. Social Influences on Adult Personality, Self-Regulation and Health, Daniel K. Mroczek, Avron Spiro III, Shevaun Neupert, and Paul W. Griffin

  6. Commentary: From Kindling to Conflagration: Self-regulation and Personality Change
    Brent W. Roberts
    Commentary: Can Self-Regulation Explain Age Differences in Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Reports of Psychological Distress?, David M, Almeida, Michelle Neiss
  7. Social Norms, Rules of Thumb, and Retirement: Evidence for Rationality in Retirement Planning, Gary Burtless

  8. Commentary: Modeling the Retirement Decision, Joseph F. Quinn
    Commentary: Numbers are Just Numbers, Ellen Peters
  9. Race and Self-Regulatory Health Behaviors: The Role of the Stress Response and the HPA Axis in Physical and Mental Health Disparities, James S. Jackson and Katherine M. Knight

  10. Commentary: Mechanisms of Health Disparities: Variations in Health Care Provider Attitudes and their Impact on Older Minority Adults, Stephanie L. Garrett and Toni P. Miles
    Commentary: Adding Paths to Resilience and Daily Accounts to an Already Rich Field of Inquiry: A Brief Commentary on James Jackson's "Social structure and Health Disparities," Alex J. Zautra, Kate E. Murray, and Brendt P. Parish
    Subject Index
    Name Index