Lecture 9 305 web

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Overview- Lecture 9 Relationships: 

Overview- Lecture 9 Relationships Friends Intimates Siblings Parents and Grandparents Psychological Perspectives on Relationships Myth Busting: Facts on Aging Revisited


Friendships Developmental Trajectory


Friendships Peripheral Ties: Amicable relationships Friendships in formation Dissolved friendships Friendship styles: Independent- Cordial relationships but maintain their distance Discerning- Selective in choice of friends, have a few very close friends Acquisitive- Readily able to make and retain friends


Friendships Importance of friends Arts and pop culture emphasize friendship among young but not old stereotype of the “lonely old person”


Friendships Research on Friendship: 93% of middle-aged adults have friends 88% women and 78% men in old age have friends Time spent with friends= 7% middle age and 9% in old age Women spend more time with friends Widowed spend more time with friends than married People choose friends with similar demographic characteristics Friendships important to self-esteem


Median Age of Marriage 1890-1998 Marriage and Intimate Relationships: Population Figures US


Divorce rate statistics are difficult to calculate in terms of probability of a marriage ending in divorce- probably is now about 45% Rates have declined since high point reached in 1980 Age and sex variations in rate of divorce Divorce Statistics Intimate Relationships: Divorce and Remarriage


(Clarke, 1995) Age and Sex Variations in Rate of Divorce Intimate Relationships: Divorce and Remarriage


Most divorces occur between ages of 25-29 for women 30-34 for men Most divorces occur within first 3 years of marriage Average length of marriage is about 10 years Only 12% of divorces occur among couples married 20 years or more (in contrast to midlife crisis theory) Divorce, Age, and Length of Marriage Intimate Relationships: Divorce and Remarriage


Remarriage Second marriage lasts 2 years less than first marriage (about 8 years) Third marriages last 2 years less than second marriages Divorce rates from second and third marriages are double the rates from first Intimate Relationships: Divorce and Remarriage


Difficult emotional experience Effects can last many years Friendships cannot replace the emotional rewards Intimate Relationships: Widowhood Effects of widowhood Women more likely than men to become widows, particularly after the age of 65 Who becomes a widow


Siblings Frequent and longest family relationship Majority are positive and have gotten over sibling rivalry Small percentage (10%) are “hostile” 3 Dimensions: Warmth Conflict Rivalry Study on young adults: Conflict and rivalry not related to warmth (unlike children) No power or dominance Sibs from large families were less close


Adult Parent-Child Relationships Issues in relationships: Children realize what it is like to be a parent Concern over future changes in parent with age Disagreement on views of life Exchange theory Costs and rewards used to evaluate relationship


Adult Parent-Child Relationships Developmental Stake: Parents have greater investment in their children than children do in their parents Child Parent Attempts to establish autonomy Sees child as continuity into future Places higher value on relationship


Adult Parent-Child Relationships Developmental Schism: Emotional gap created between parents and their children Based on research on daughters and mothers Daughter Mother Does not regard mother as important Mother not seen as confidant May resent mother’s lack of parenting Still seeks approval Regards daughter as important Daughter seen as confidant


Adult Parent-Child Relationships Other sources of tension: Parents see grown children as reflections of quality of parenting However, parents may resent accomplishments of children Role reversal = Discredited concept


Adult Parent-Child Relationships Attitudes of children toward parents: Filial maturity Children become adults and relate to parents as peers Filial anxiety Child fears having to care for parent Filial obligation or piety Cultural tradition of commitment to care for parent


Adult Parent-Child Relationships Positive features in relationships: Most relationships are harmonious Outright conflict is avoided or denied Caregiving is not as negative as portrayed “Sandwich generation” Aging parents Teenage children Other factors reduce stress: Support from sibling and husband Coping strategies Higher resources Grandparents actually provide help


Structure Distance and other factors that enhance or constrain interaction among family members Association Frequency of social contact and shared activities between family members Affect Feelings of emotional closeness, affirmation, and intimacy between family members Actual or perceived agreement in opinions, values, and lifestyles between family members Norms Exchanges of instrumental and financial assistance and support between family members Function Strength of the obligation felt toward other family members Adult Parent-Child Relationships (see text page 282) Dimensions of Intergenerational Solidarity Model Consensus


Adult Parent-Child Relationships (see text page 283) Tight-knit Sociable Obligatory Intimate but distant Detached Type Description % Mothers % Fathers Close on all dimensions Close contact but no functional help Frequent contact but no emotional closeness Emotionally close but no close contact No contact or closeness 31 20 28 23 16 16 19 14 7 27 Types in Intergenerational Solidarity Model


Adult Parent-Child Relationships Results of Research on Solidarity Model Sex differences in closeness with mother but not father Children less likely to be in touch with parents who were divorced or widowed, especially fathers Younger and older adults had stronger ties than middle-aged Race and income also play a role


Grandparents Most older adults are grandparents (94% with children) Increasingly are greatgrandparents (50%) Facts About Grandparents:


Grandparents Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: 3.9 million children in homes headed by grandparents = 5.5% all chidlren under 18 4.7 million grandparents living with grandchildren, 63% were grandmothers Skip generation family Substance abuse by parents Child abuse or neglect Teen pregnancy Parent illness or incarcaration


Grandparents Grandparent Types (Neugarten) Maintain clear boundaries Detached Reservoir of family wisdom Head of family, providing continuity with past generations Distant figure, only ritualistically involved Formal Fun seeker Leisure orientation, seek mutuality of pleasure Take over role of parent as role model and advisor Surrogate parent “Family watchdog” Fits dimension of “remote-involved”


Grandparents Dimensions of Grandparent Meaning (Kivnick) Grandparents see selves as resource and amount of concern over how remembered Spoil Immortality through clan Sense of responsibility for the family as a whole Extent to which indulge desires of grandchildren Valued elder Identity Relevance to personal identity of grandparenthood Extent to which grandparenthood more important than other activities Centrality Underlying themes of role formality, closeness, and entertainment


Socioemotional Selectivity Theory Psychological Perspectives on Long-Term Relationships Throughout adulthood, individuals reduce the range of relationships to maximize social and emotional gains and minimize risks


Informational function Affective function Costs They also have Psychological Perspectives on Long-Term Relationships Functions of relationships Relationships have: AGING Due to time “running out” No change in showing or feeling emotions No loss of interest in new relationships Related to better regulation of emotions


Psychological Perspectives on Long-Term Relationships Socioemotional Selectivity Theory


Psychological Perspectives on Long-Term Relationships Implications of Theory for Marriage in Older Adults Prefer to spend time with partner Get along better with partner Affection does not fade Observational study in laboratory communication task Middle aged show more negative emotions but also more humor Happily married avoided escalation of disagreements


Friendships Friendships Socioemotional selectivity theory- older should prefer “old friends” or those who share intense experiences together


Psychological Perspectives on Long-Term Relationships Attachment Theory Adults carry early patterns of relationships into interactions with close partners Based on work of John Bowlby in studying infant-mother interactions Attachment behavioral system Security Anxiety


Psychological Perspectives on Long-Term Relationships Attachment Theory Repeated experiences lead to internal (attachment) working model of other people in relation to self Forms the basis for ways of thinking about attachment figures= attachment style Types Differences reflected in research on relationships


Psychological Perspectives on Long-Term Relationships Attachment Theory Fourth category added by Bartholomew and Horowitz:


Psychological Perspectives on Long-Term Relationships Attachment Theory- Research on Adults National Comorbidity Study (Mickelson et al) 8100 adults 15-54 years 3 category attachment style measure Diehl and colleagues 304 adults 20-87 years 4 category attachment style measure


Results of Mickelson et al. Attachment Style Study Psychological Perspectives on Long-Term Relationships Text page 262 Table 9.1 Age Groups


Results of Diehl et al. Attachment Style Study Psychological Perspectives on Long-Term Relationships Text page 262 Table 9.1 Age Groups


Psychological Perspectives on Long-Term Relationships Theories of Relationship Satisfaction and Stability Stages based on ages of children Family life cycle theory Social exchange theory Partners weigh advantages & disadvantages of relationship Equity theory Partners seek balance in what they bring to relationship Behavioral approach Actual behaviors influence marital satisfaction Marital selectivity hypothesis Couples choose partners who match their depressive or neurotic characteristics Need complementarity hypothesis “Opposites attract” Similarity hypothesis “Like attracts like”

Myth Busting: Facts on Aging Revisited: 

Myth Busting: Facts on Aging Revisited #17 The majority of old people are socially isolated. False

Myth Busting: Facts on Aging Revisited: 

Myth Busting: Facts on Aging Revisited #3 The majority of old people have no interest in, nor capacity for sexual relations. False


49% acknowledge 70% regard as important 95% like 99% would want Like sex Want sex Orgasm Nudity TOPIC Percent Masturbation Touching and cuddling 93% consider important “Sexy” pictures etc. 62% are aroused 80% positive 99% women orgasmic Attitudes Toward Sexuality in Older Adults


76% state that sex has positive effects 64% accept open attitudes 91% approved for older adults Sex and living together Homosexuality Health Satisfaction 75% same or better than when younger Sex education 88% received none or negative when young More true for women than men Younger lovers 84% women 90% men Sexuality in Relationships: Sexual Preferences of Older Adults TOPIC Percent

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