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Psychology 108: Psychology of Adulthood and Aging

Location: 

Various; distance learning format.

Length: 

30 hours (10 weeks).

Dates: 

December 2013 - Present.

Instructional delivery format: 
Online/distance learning
Learner Outcomes: 

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to: explore the field of gerontology and the definitions of age; examine psychological and psycho-social theories and models of aging, stereotypes associated with older adults, and demographics of the aging population; go through a basic introduction to personality; delve into the five-factor model of dispositional traits; survey and compare Neugarten's personality styles, Erikson's stages of identity formation, Jung's personality theories, Levinson's stages of adult development, and Freud's psychoanalytic theory; look at common physical, psychological, and emotional changes occurring in late adulthood; identify fitness concerns, factors influencing longevity, and causes of disability, morbidity, and mortality; explore health treatment options, medications, and costs; identify differences between disease and aging, and note the trends related to health and illness; examine the parts of the brain and note the age-related changes occurring in the brain's autonomic nervous system, neurons, and neurotransmitters; learn how these changes affect emotional and cognitive processing and discover ways exercise benefits the brain; compare the STAC and HAROLD models of activation; go over bilateral activation and dopaminergic system changes; get an overview of how aging affects the hair, skin, and voice; study skin layers, muscle tissue, and muscle function before examining the extent to which mobility and build change with age; analyze the functions of both the major skeletal muscle and the skeletal system; see how physical changes to personal appearance affect self-concepts; explore changes to sleep patterns and physical appearance during late adulthood; begin with an overview of the sensory system and work through the lessons to discover the effects of aging on vision, hearing, taste, smell, and balance; explore changes in motor and sensory skills; review other changes to perception and sensation; go over functions of the human circulatory and cardiovascular systems and discover how they change with age; examine common heart conditions and respiratory diseases; Identify the anatomy of the lungs and airway, as well as the functional changes to the respiratory system caused by aging; review anatomy of the endocrine system and the male and female reproductive systems; study the effects of aging on each system; learn about common chronic health conditions among older adults and find out how they can be managed; identify the influences of family history, genetics, socioeconomic issues, diet, exercise, substance abuse, stress, and sleep on chronic health conditions; research the ways in which attention, long-term memory, implicit and explicit memory, and working memory are affected by the aging process; examine such topics as recall versus recognition, how aging changes memories, and the factors impacting memory; define cognition and then compare Piaget's stages of cognitive development to the changes that occur in late adulthood; learn how aging changes language acquisition, problem solving, and information processing; investigate methods for defining, testing, and researching intelligence; explore intelligence types and the development of primary and secondary mental abilities; learn the definition of wisdom and explore its relation to life experience; survey approaches to psychopathology and mental illness alongside various classifications, approaches, and models to lifespan development disorders; identify factors contributing to life satisfaction among older adults; sort through causes and treatments for generalized anxiety and panic disorders, specific phobias, social phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and trauma-related disorders; analyze causes of substance disorders and dependence on various depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens, including alcohol, amphetamines, and cannabis; discover the various approaches to treating substance-related disorders; consider the causes and treatment techniques for cognitive disorders, including dementia and Alzheimer's disease; study additional late-in-life disorders, including depression, stress, and anxiety; survey stress, mood, and depressive disorders; examine causes and treatment for mood disorders; explore current theories on stress disorders and go over positive psychology; learn characteristics of such therapies as individual, group, biological, life review, and pet therapies; investigate the effectiveness of various treatment techniques designed for older populations, including sensory training, reality orientation, and remotivation; discover the family relationships, friendships, and love relationships that develop in adulthood; identify issues surrounding marriage, divorce, cohabitation, remarriage, restructured families, and widowhood; examine stages of parenting and grandparenting; establish aspects associated with abusive relationships, including neglect, elder abuse, and exploitation; review the psychological impact of caring for aging parents; review factors contributing to occupational choice; discover how age affects occupational choice and explore causes of job satisfaction and dissatisfaction among older workers; go over Super's stages of occupational development; inspect such concepts as age diversity, stereotypes, and discrimination; learn how work and leisure time relate to achievement in late adulthood; examine factors affecting retirement, the social context of aging, and the challenges of ageism; study the stages of dying and bereavement, the history of hospice care, and the concept of dying with dignity; and explore end-of-life issues and the reaction to death across the life span.

Instruction: 

Major topics include: introduction to adult development and aging; personality and aging; health of the aging population; the aging brain and nervous system; effects of aging on skin and body build; effects of aging on the sensory system; effects of aging on the circulatory and respiratory systems; the aging endocrine and reproductive systems; chronic conditions of the aging population; changes to memory and attention with age; cognitive development and aging; overview of intelligence, wisdom and creativity; mental health and lifespan development disorders; cognitive, behavioral and psychological assessments; aging-related anxiety disorders; substance abuse among aging populations; cognitive disorders related to aging; mood and stress disorders affecting the aging population; treatment methods for psychological disorders in adults; relationships in adulthood; career changes over the lifespan; retirement and leisure in adulthood; and overview of death, dying and bereavement.

Credit recommendation: 

In the lower division baccalaureate degree category, 3 semester hours in Psychology (12/16).

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