Relationships in Old Age: Coping with the Challenge of Transition / Edition 1

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Overview

This book emphasizes a set of factors often ignored in the literature--personality characteristics and ways of relating that can enable the older adult to become an active agent in shaping his or her own life. Reviewing recent research and theory, the authors focus on relationships important to life enhancement in later years--from friendship, family, and co-residents in shared housing to care givers, health-care providers, and social agency personnel-and illustrate how an older individual's relational competence can make a critical difference in initiating and maintaining these relationships.

This book contains black-and-white illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Bruce Rybarczyk, PhD (Rush Medical College of Rush University)
Description: The book covers four main areas: the general literature on stress and coping in the elderly, with an emphasis on social functioning; the authors' developmental model of the interpersonal situations encountered by older adults as they become more dependent; the theory and measurement of relational competence, a construct developed by the authors; and the application of relational competence to the elderly.
Purpose: The relational competence model has much heuristic value, particularly in the area of preventive and community interventions. Despite the general title of the book, however, the primary emphasis is on authors' theory as it applies to dependent elders (i.e., the "old-old" and otherwise frail elderly).
Audience: The book is intended for advanced undergraduate students, graduate students, researchers, and practitioners in the various health fields. The first half of the book serves as an overview of the background literature and, therefore, is written to the level of students. In addition, the intervention chapters do not describe any clinical cases or specific therapeutic techniques that would be appealing to clinicians.
Features: The authors both have impressive research credentials in the areas covered in the book. I found the tables presented in chapters 5 and 6 to be an excellent integration of the research on sequential stages of social adjustment of the elderly. The references are very up-to-date, particularly in the area of caregiver issues and social support.
Assessment: As a gero-psychologist and graduate school instructor, I found the ideas presented in the book both stimulating and important. I hope the authors' theory becomes more widely known and gets studied further. However, the book is not quite comprehensive or in-depth enough to serve as a reference book or text for a class on aging. It would, nonetheless, make a nice contribution to libraries serving gerontology students and professionals.
Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Bruce Rybarczyk, PhD (Rush Medical College of Rush University)
Description: The book covers four main areas: the general literature on stress and coping in the elderly, with an emphasis on social functioning; the authors' developmental model of the interpersonal situations encountered by older adults as they become more dependent; the theory and measurement of relational competence, a construct developed by the authors; and the application of relational competence to the elderly.
Purpose: The relational competence model has much heuristic value, particularly in the area of preventive and community interventions. Despite the general title of the book, however, the primary emphasis is on authors' theory as it applies to dependent elders (i.e., the "old-old" and otherwise frail elderly).
Audience: The book is intended for advanced undergraduate students, graduate students, researchers, and practitioners in the various health fields. The first half of the book serves as an overview of the background literature and, therefore, is written to the level of students. In addition, the intervention chapters do not describe any clinical cases or specific therapeutic techniques that would be appealing to clinicians.
Features: The authors both have impressive research credentials in the areas covered in the book. I found the tables presented in chapters 5 and 6 to be an excellent integration of the research on sequential stages of social adjustment of the elderly. The references are very up-to-date, particularly in the area of caregiver issues and social support.
Assessment: As a gero-psychologist and graduate school instructor, I found the ideas presented in the book both stimulating and important. I hope the authors' theory becomes more widely known and gets studied further. However, the book is not quite comprehensive or in-depth enough to serve as a reference book or text for a class on aging. It would, nonetheless, make a nice contribution to libraries serving gerontology students and professionals.
From the Publisher

"As a researcher interested in personal relationships among the aged, I found this book to provide a unique integration and analysis of research in this area. Topics traditionally associated with research on the aged...are thoroughly reviewed with an emphasis on recent research findings...I believe the authors have identified a serious deficiency in research on interpersonal relationships among the elderly....This book would be an excellent addition to courses on the psychology of aging, as well as to courses on interpersonal relationships. I also believe this book is a 'must read' for individuals actively involved in research concerning interpersonal relationships among the elderly. The review of research in these areas is thorough and current. Furthermore, I believe the discussion and analysis of how personality characteristics of the elderly individual may influence his or her relationships with others provides an important new paradigm for research in gerontology." --Daniel W. Russell, Ph.D., Iowa State University

"...An outstanding new addition to our understanding of the importance of human relationships during life transitions. The authors provide an excellent mix of theory and practical application as they examine relationships and specific coping strategies and challenging situations.
The book would be appropriate as a required text or supplementary reading for courses on relationships, coping and life transitions because it includes core material which describes the basic features of relationships and builds upon this foundation by applying it to specific transitions such as caregiving, bereavement, and problems associated with aging. The book also is a valuable reference work because the authors were comprehensive and systematic in their review of existing theory and research. The authors provide a well-organized, insightful, engaging, and interesting examination of the most relevant information about relationships. This book will convince the reader that human relationships are worth examining, and that relationships can both create and alleviate problems in daily life." --Dale A. Lund, Ph.D., University of Utah

"...A clear and comprehensive accounting of research and theory concerning the importance of social relationships in later life and characteristics of older adults who can skillfully access and maintain such relationships. This book emphasizes wide variations existing among individual older adults in psychosocial, health, economic, and environmental resources, and how these resources are associated with differing needs. One of the remarkable strengths of this volume is its emphasis on the older adult as an active agent in shaping the course of his or her own life. Hansson and Carpenter clearly articulate their construct of relational competence in the context of well-established theory and the psychometric development of their instrument. They also provide convincing empirical evidence to support their perspective. As such, this book makes a significant contribution to both gerontology and the study of close personal relationships. Because the book emphasizes both basic and applied issues concerning social relationships in later life, it will be a valuable addition to the collections of scholars and practitioners alike." --Mary Ann Parris Stephens, Ph.D., Kent State University

"Useful for advanced courses in gerontology and social psychology... graduate students will find it particularly helpful for generating research propostitions." --Ralph Cherry in Journal of Family Psychotherapy

"This book is probably one of the most important ones I have read this year." --Stephen Davies in Newsletter of the Psychologists Special Interest Group for the Elderly

Bruce Rybarczyk
The book covers four main areas: the general literature on stress and coping in the elderly, with an emphasis on social functioning; the authors' developmental model of the interpersonal situations encountered by older adults as they become more dependent; the theory and measurement of relational competence, a construct developed by the authors; and the application of relational competence to the elderly. The relational competence model has much heuristic value, particularly in the area of preventive and community interventions. Despite the general title of the book, however, the primary emphasis is on authors' theory as it applies to dependent elders (i.e., the "old-old" and otherwise frail elderly). The book is intended for advanced undergraduate students, graduate students, researchers, and practitioners in the various health fields. The first half of the book serves as an overview of the background literature and, therefore, is written to the level of students. In addition, the intervention chapters do not describe any clinical cases or specific therapeutic techniques that would be appealing to clinicians. The authors both have impressive research credentials in the areas covered in the book. I found the tables presented in chapters 5 and 6 to be an excellent integration of the research on sequential stages of social adjustment of the elderly. The references are very up-to-date, particularly in the area of caregiver issues and social support. As a gero-psychologist and graduate school instructor, I found the ideas presented in the book both stimulating and important. I hope the authors' theory becomes more widely known and gets studied further. However, the book is not quitecomprehensive or in-depth enough to serve as a reference book or text for a class on aging. It would, nonetheless, make a nice contribution to libraries serving gerontology students and professionals.
Booknews
The authors (both psychology, U. of Tulsa) review recent research and theory to emphasize a set of factors often ignored in the literature on aging: personality characteristics and ways of relating that enable older adults to become active in shaping their lives, specifically, in creating and maintaining vital relationships with friends, family, co- residents, care-givers, health care professionals and social service agencies. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

Meet the Author


Robert O. Hansson, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology and Director of Graduate Programs in Industrial/Organizational Psychology at the University of Tulsa. His research interests focus on aging, families, and on older adults coping with loss and with stressful life transitions. He is currently conducting studies of the impact of bereavement on the family, and on successful aging in the workplace.

Bruce N. Carpenter, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of Clinical Training for clinical psychology programs at the University of Tulsa. He studies the role of relationships in stress and psychopathology, with a special emphasis on how relationships and social skills help us cope. His current research has resulted in the development of several new measures of psychopathology and social functioning.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 The Critical Role of Relationships 1
Ch. 2 Adaptation and Coping in the Aging Context 15
Ch. 3 The Problematic Nature of Supportive Relationships in Old Age 28
Ch. 4 Obstacles to Family Support and Caregiving in Later Years 47
Ch. 5 The Interpersonal Contexts of Old Age 64
Ch. 6 Theory and Measurement of Relational Competence 74
Ch. 7 Research on Relational Competence and Social Functioning 92
Ch. 8 Intervention Strategies 114
Ch. 9 Special Problems of the Elderly: Depression, Housing, Legal Incompetence, and Caregiver Strain 132
Ch. 10 Concluding Thoughts 145
References 149
Author Index 171
Subject Index 178
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