Psychology and the Aging Revolution: How We Adapt to Longer Life

By Humble, Aine M. | Family Relations, April 2002 | Go to article overview

Psychology and the Aging Revolution: How We Adapt to Longer Life


Humble, Aine M., Family Relations


Psychology and the Aging Revolution: How We Adapt to Longer Life. S. H. Qualls, & N, Abeles (Eds.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2000. 313 pp. ISBN: 1-55798-707-6, 539.95 (hardcover).

This book emerged from a special session called "Psychology and the Aging Revolution" at the 1997 annual meeting of the American Psychological Association. The papers delivered by most of the presenters at that conference are included as chapters in this book. The purpose of the book is to continue the dialogue that began at the 1997 conference about how psychology can "contribute to understanding the capabilities and changing needs of an aging population." Book sections focus on recent research in seven areas: (a) neuropsychology and cognitive aging, (b) memory and aging, (c) emotion and aging, (d) social relationships in later life, (e) health psychology and aging, (f) depression and aging, and (g) psychotherapy and aging. Most sections include two chapters.

As someone who teaches courses on adult development in a human development and family sciences program, I was interested in evaluating this book for its use in an undergraduate course. Because I focus on aging as a process of selective optimization and compensation rather than as an experience consisting only of decline, I was interested in how the book would address this issue (as its subtitle says, "how we adapt to longer life"). However, it was difficult for me to sustain my interest in many of the chapters, especially the first two sections dealing with neuropsychology, cognition, and memory. The information presented often was specific and clinically focused and it appeared that the authors assume their readers are familiar with the terms and research. Thus, such sections would be difficult to follow for someone who lacks background in this terminology. Additionally, repeated use of acronyms made the reading difficult. …

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