THE EXPERIENCE OF OLD AGE: Stress, Coping, and Survival by Morton A. & Sheldon S. Tobin Lieberman

THE EXPERIENCE OF OLD AGE: Stress, Coping, and Survival

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Most suitable for a professional audience, this conscientiously documented book presents findings from four studies of relocation and offers some new but not wholly surprising conclusions about elderly responses to environmental change and about aging in general. Lieberman and Tobin studied old people moving into institutions, either from their own homes or from other institutions. Although coping strategies mattered (a few personality traits were partial predictors of adaptation, some risk factors could be established), there were other, more important issues to focus on--especially the quality of the new residence and its compatibility with individual personality and previous environment. The central task of the elderly, the authors suggest, is using remaining resources to maintain a self-identity. That task is, of course, directly assaulted during relocation, and motivation often falters or fails entirely, even when the new environment is an improvement. Cautious about generalizing, Lieberman and Tobin are scrupulous not only in detailing their methodologies (e.g., the life history interview they used proved to be an unsatisfactory instrument for gathering data) but also in exploring uncertainties and discrepancies in their findings; and they supply strong support for the belief in old age as a life stage with its own psychology (e.g., hope may have negative effects). This skillfully presented discussion, which never uses the term ""senior citizen,"" provides a simultaneous view of how the elderly respond to a specific stress and how such phenomena can be studied.

Pub Date: July 12th, 1983
Publisher: Basic Books