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PSY 180 - Psychology of Aging - Textbook

Chapter 3: Table of Contents

Chapter 3: Social and Physiological Theories of Aging

Chapter Learning Objectives

  • Evaluate the three major sociological perspectives that inform the theories of aging, including functionalism, symbolic interactionism, and conflict theory.
  • Identify whether there is a link between social isolation, loneliness and the risk for physical and mental health conditions.
  • What are the biological factors related to loneliness and social isolation.
  • What does current research suggest about the effects of social isolation and loneliness on cognitive functioning and mental health.
  • Evaluate the biological theories of aging.


Chapter Key Points

  • Theories in the functionalist perspective focus on the role of elders in terms of the functioning of society as a whole.
  • Theories in the conflict perspective concentrate on how elders, as a group, are at odds with other groups in society.
  • Theories in the symbolic interactionist perspective focus on how elders’ identities are created through their interactions.
  • Aging is also a biological process that can be explained using several theories.
  • Social isolation and loneliness may be important factors in determining the cognitive functioning and mental health of elderly persons.

(Learning Objectives, Key Points, and Basic Terms content by Professor Stacey Cooper is licensed under CC BY 4.0.)