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Health, Illness, and Optimal Aging, Third Edition

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Health, Illness, and Optimal Aging, Third Edition

SKU# 9780826134042

Biological and Psychosocial Perspectives

Author: Carolyn Aldwin Ph.D., Diane Gilmer Ph.D., Heidi Igarashi PhD, Michael R. Levenson PhD

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Uniquely bridging a gap in the gerontology literature between the biological and psychosocial aspects of aging, this interdisciplinary text provides key updates on an abundance of cutting-edge research; expands information on diversity issues in aging; and examines in great depth the physiology of aging, theories of biological aging, and methodological issues. Instructors will also welcome the availability of an Instructor’s Manual and PowerPoint slides.

Written for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students, and invigorated by the addition of new coauthors, the third edition integrates findings in biology, psychology, and the social sciences to provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary coverage of the aging process. Included is key information on age-related changes and disease-related processes, the demography of the aging population worldwide, theories of aging, and ways to promote optimal aging. From a psychosocial perspective, the book examines mental health, stress and coping, spirituality, and caregiving in later years. Also included is crucial information on longitudinal design and statistics as they relate to research on aging, promising new trends in gerontechnology and Green Houses, and information on health promotion programs. Real-life examples throughout the text help students to understand practical applications of the material.

New to the Third Edition:

  • Abundant new cutting-edge research on biological and psychosocial aspects of aging
  • Expands information on diversity issues
  • Updated theories of biological aging: microRNA, proteasomes, and gut microsomes
  • Psychology of aging: How variability in responses to stress affects health and mortality
  • Aging and public policy: How the recent recession has affected poverty rates resulting in increases in mortality among poor, middle-aged Whites
  • Gerontechnology: The “Internet of things,” assistive devices, and the potential of robots
  • Instructor’s Manual and PowerPoint slides

Key Features:

  • Examines age-related changes, disease-related processes, theories of aging, and ways to promote optimal aging
  • Encompasses mental health, stress and coping, spirituality, and caregiving in later years
  • Provides information on aging-related longitudinal design and statistics
  • Covers promising new trends such as gerontechnology and Green Houses

Product Details 

  • Publication Date October 24, 2017
  • Page Count 430
  • Product Form Paperback / softback
  • ISBN 13 9780826134042
  • EISBN 9780826134059

About The Author(s) 

Carolyn M. Aldwin, PhD, is the Jo Anne Leonard Endowed Director, Center for Healthy Aging Research; Director of the Gerontology Program; and Professor in Human Development and Family Sciences, School of Social & Behavioral Health Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR. She is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, as well as both Divisions 20 (Adult Development and Aging) and 38 (Health Psychology) of the American Psychological Association. She received the Developmental Health Psychology Award from these divisions, and is a former president of Division 20. Dr. Aldwin has authored or edited six books, including Stress, Coping, and Development, 2nd ed., Handbook of Health Psychology and Aging, and Health, Illness, and Optimal Aging, 2nd ed. (Springer Publishing). She has authored or co-authored 124 other publications on stress, stress-related growth, coping, health, and optimal aging, as well as the long-term effects of military service on health outcomes in later life, and was Editor for Research in Human Development. She currently has funding from the National Institute on Aging.

Heidi Igarashi, PhD, recently received her doctorate in Human Development and Family Studies from Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR. Her work focuses on the intersection of resilience, optimal aging, and wisdom; specifically, how individuals navigate and negotiate their social environments during everyday life, as well as critical life events. This research interest emerges from 26 years as a mental health counselor. Dr. Igarashi has authored and co-authored professional journal articles and book chapters on stress, coping, resilience, optimal aging, and intergenerational relationships in adulthood. She also serves on the Board of Directors of an adult day service in an effort to support community-based approaches that facilitate resilient aging in both caregivers and care recipients.

Diane Fox Gilmer, PhD, was most recently a lecturer and post-graduate researcher in the Department of Human and Community Development, University of California, Davis, and is now retired. She is certified as an Adult Family Nurse Practitioner and has worked extensively with older adults. In addition to authoring many professional journal articles, Dr. Gilmer is a co-author with Dr. Aldwin on Health, Illness, and Optimal Aging, 1st ed. (2004) and 2nd ed. (2013).

Michael R. Levenson, PhD is Research Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Sciences, School of Social & Behavioral Health Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR. He studies exceptional adult development, both positive (e.g., wisdom and spirituality) and negative (e.g., psychopathy). He has also studied age, cohort, and period effects in the use of alcohol, as well as the effects of personality on health. He has over sixty publications.

Table of Contents 

Foreword by Robert M. Kaplan

Preface to the Third Edition


1. Introduction and Basic Concepts in Aging

Basic Definitions

Organization of the Book

2. Demography of Aging

Aging in the World

Demographic Factors and the Rate of Aging


3. Theories of Aging

Biological Theories of Aging

Psychosocial Theories of Aging


4. Understanding Change in Aging Research

Research Designs

Basic Statistical Terms

Summary of Common Statistical Techniques

Age-Related Designs

Statistics for Assessing Change

Statistics That Predict Change

Special Design Issues in Health and Aging Research



5. Aging of the Skin and Musculoskeletal System


Musculoskeletal System


6. Aging of the Internal Organ Systems

Cardiovascular System

Respiratory System

Gastrointestinal System

Renal/Urinary System


7. Aging of the Sensory and Nervous Systems

Sensory System

Nervous System


8. Aging of the Endocrine and Immune Systems

Endocrine System

Immune System


9. Functional Health, Health Promotion, and Quality of Life

Functional Health

Health Promotion in Older Adults

Quality of Life



10. The Interface Between Physical and Mental Health

Personality Processes and Disease

Differentiating Between Mental and Physical Health Problems in Late Life


11. Stress, Coping, and Health


Coping With Stress


12. Social Support, Health, and Aging

Characteristics of Social Support Networks

Social Support, Morbidity, and Mortality




13. Aging in the Sociostructural Context

Retirement: Variations on a Theme

Poverty in Late Life

Health Care Economics in Late Life

Living Arrangements



14. What Is Optimal Aging?

Models of Optimal Aging

Wisdom and Optimal Aging

Religiousness, Spirituality, and Optimal Aging

Ars Moriendi—The Art of Dying