Adulthood and Aging - AdulthoodandAging: , partners., .La

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Adulthood and Aging: Social Processes and Development One of the most reliable findings in social gerontology is that with age, people report fewer social  partners. Assuming that cultural ageism is responsible, researchers had construed this  phenomenon as society’s rejection of older adults. Laura Carstensen’s (1999) socioemotional  selectivity theory, however, posits that decrease in social network size is a developmental  process of social selection that begins in early adulthood. According to the theory, this decrease  is the direct result of people’s actively reducing the number of peripheral social partners with  whom they interact; in contrast, the number of emotionally close social partners stays relatively  constant with age. The age-related preference for close social partners, as opposed to  acquaintances, is documented in many studies of men and women using ethnicity diverse groups  of Americans and samples from Germany, Hong Kong, and mainland China. Close social partners provide emotionally meaningful interactions, and satisfaction with family  members, including siblings, spouse, and children, increases with age. The sibling relationship  represents one of the longest, more enduring relationships in life, and Victor Cicirelli’s (1989)  research reveals that people who report positive relationships with siblings, particularly their  sisters, also report lower levels of depression. In addition, the marital tie is also important to  overall well-being. Across the life span, marital satisfaction follows a curvilinear pattern: high in  the early years of marriage, decreasing slightly into middle adulthood, and then rising again  toward the end of middle age. People whose marriages survived into old age report high levels of  marital happiness and contentment. Although they reported that difficult times did occur, they  attribute their marriage’s longevity to strong levels of mutual commitment and friendship. Children are sources of high satisfaction for parents of all ages. Karen Fingerman’s (2003) 
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This note was uploaded on 02/13/2011 for the course PSCHOLOGY 111 taught by Professor Bettymiller during the Winter '11 term at University of Phoenix.

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Adulthood and Aging - AdulthoodandAging: , partners., .La

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