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Adjustment to old age in a changing society

McCulloch, Andrew William (1985) Adjustment to old age in a changing society. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Elderly people have lived through a period of considerable socio-cultural change, and adjustment to old age may therefore encompass adjustment to such change. The literature on adjustment to old age is examined with particular reference to areas which might have a bearing on adjustment to social change. It is noted that developmental assumptions are embodied in many approaches to adjustment to old age, and the validity of these assumptions is questioned. However, the concept of emergence, which is a feature of development, is offered as a suitable model for adjustment to old age. Some dissatisfaction is expressed with the insights offered by social science in this area, and Western European literature is examined for alternative insights, the status of which is explored. Consideration is then given to the appropriate methodology for investigating the area. No final decision is made between the nomothetic and ideographic approaches, but some advantages are seen in the latter. A series of empirical studies of adjustment amongst elderly people living in sheltered accommodation is then reported. The final study involved interviews with 47 people. Social information was collected, and a morale', control' and functional health' scale were administered. Subjects also participated in a semi-structured interview covering attitudes to young people, modern society, death, religion and past life satisfaction. A follow-up interview covered acceptance of social change. Most subjects exhibited a mode of thought, moral siege', involving a belief that elderly people are morally and spiritually superior. Moral siege' was not found to be adjustment-related, and was thought to arise from a conflict between assimilating socio-cultural change, and valuing the past. Two other patterns of thought, a negative view of modern society, and questioning fundamental beliefs, were negatively related to morale. In conclusion, these findings are related to existing models of adjustment, the emergence' model, and the literary ideas about old age. (D71532/87).

Published date: 1985

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 461982
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/461982
PURE UUID: f3ff24bf-f95e-41d4-95ec-9b7db97ee51a

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 04 Jul 2022 18:59

Contributors

Author: Andrew William McCulloch