THE PROCESS OF AGING: ADJUSTMENTS REQUIRED
This research examines the process of aging. The focus of this examination is on the life adjustments required by individuals as they age in order to assure or at least enhance the probability of continued well-being.
All life-stage theories of human development are concerned with the aging process (Heikkinen, 1993, pp. 269-277). Within this context, three types of aging are involved. Biological aging refers to the manner in which the body functions over time, while psychological aging involves the individual's perceptions of the aging process, and social aging reflects the ways individuals relate aging their own unique society. Adjustments are required by individuals in relation to each facet of the aging process in order to enhance the probability of their continued well-being.
Adapting to Life Changes As One Ages
An assumption central to cognitive theory is that an individual's emotional and behavioral responses to events in one's life are greatly influenced by one's own interpretations and evaluations of those events (Wong and Watt, 1991, pp. 272-279). Thus, adapting to life changes it a function both of a person's interpretation of an event, and her or his basic beliefs used in evaluating the event, regardless of the perceptual accuracy of either. Adaptation to life changes as one ages, thus, is a highly individual process. The individualistic characteristic of the adaptation process hinders generalization.
Cognitive phenomena employed by individuals in adapting to life changes are grouped into three categories (Wong and Watt, 1991, pp. 272-279). The first category is comprised of an individual's stream of consciousness thought and visual images that occur as responses to life events. Such automatic thoughts related to events may be biased by systematic distortions. The second category is comprised of an individual's expectancies about the probabilities of the res...