SYP6735: SOCIOLOGY OF AGING AND THE LIFE COURSE
Class: Thursdays 3-6 p.m. in TUR 2303
Instructor: Monika Ardelt, Ph.D.
Office: 3350 Turlington
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:45-2:45 p.m. and by appointment
What determines our journey throughout life? How do personal, social, historical, and structural factors in childhood and young adulthood affect the later course of individuals’ lives? What kind of influence does society have on the life course of individuals, and what can individuals do to optimize their lives and experience a rewarding old age? How do people’s health, family, and economic situation in old age reflect their life course history rather than good or bad luck? These and other questions are the topic of this course. We will examine aging from a developmental and life course perspective by considering personal, social, economic, and structural factors and resources that influence individuals’ lives and their life paths. We will also discuss methodological issues that need to be taken into account when studying the life course.
Mortimer, Jeylan T., and Michael J. Shanahan. 2004. Handbook of the life course. New York: Springer. Also available online at http://www.netLibrary.com/urlapi.asp?action=summary&v=1&bookid=101247
Vaillant, George E. 2002. Aging well: Surprising guideposts to a happier life from the landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development. Boston, MA: Little, Brown.
All additional readings are available in the “Ardelt-Sociology of Aging and the Life Course” folder on the S-drive.
Atkinson, Robert. 1998. The life story interview. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.
Readings and Class Participation: An interaction between students and instructor will be the basis of most classes. Hence, it is absolutely essential that you read the assigned material in advance so that you are able to participate in class discussions.
You will prepare one or more questions for each class based on the assigned readings and write down possible answers to those questions or issues that should be considered when attempting to answer those questions. Questions and answers should contain a heading that identifies the reading(s) that inspired the question(s). Each set of questions and answers is worth 1 point if you write at least 300 words of original text (excluding headings and quotations) for a total of 10% of your final grade. You will have 12 opportunities to submit a Q&A entry, but you only need to submit 10 entries.
Q & A entries for each class are to be submitted via e-Learning in Canvas after the file has been saved either as a Word document (*.doc or *.docx) or as a rich text format (*.rtf) file. I will not be able to download, read, and grade any other file format. The deadline for submission is noon each Thursday for which readings are assigned, so that I have time to compile a list of questions for discussion before class. For general information about e-Learning in Canvas visit https://wiki.helpdesk.ufl.edu/FAQs/E-Learning.
To submit your MS Word file or *.rtf file in e-Learning, go to the University of Florida e-Learning Support Services home page at <http://lss.at.ufl.edu/> (bookmark this page). To sign into e-Learning in Canvas, click on the “e-Learning in Canvas” link using your assigned Gatorlink username and password. If you do not have a Gatorlink ID or if you cannot remember your Gatorlink login information, go to the Gatorlink website at <http://gatorlink.ufl.edu> or to the CIRCA Help Desk in the Hub (phone: 392-HELP) for assistance.
After you have successfully logged into e-Learning, you will be taken to your Dashboard, which will help you to navigate through Canvas. For further assistance please contact e-Learning Support Services at (352) 392-4357 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To submit a Q & A entry via e-Learning, navigate to our course and click on Assignments in the menubar. Assignments can be displayed in the order they are due or by type. Do the following to submit a Q & A entry:
Step 1: Click the Q & A entry you want to submit.
Step 2: Click on the “Submit Assignment” link.
Step 3: To upload your file, click the Choose File button. Browse for a file to upload.
Step 4: Check “This assignment submission is my own, original work”
Step 5: Click Submit Assignment when you are done. After you have submitted your work, you will see information in the Sidebar about your submission. If you choose, you may resubmit another version of your assignment using the Re-submit Assignment link.
To view your grades, click on Grades in the menubar.
In addition and to prevent the instructor from doing all of the talking during class, you will serve as the discussion leader for two class sessions, which will be rewarded with 10% of the final grade (5% for each class session). There might be more than one discussion leader for a given topic. As discussion leader, you will have the privilege to ask your most “burning” questions about the class topic first and add information to the discussion from 2 recent articles and/or book chapters that are not listed in the class schedule outline. To receive full credit, you will need to give me the complete references and electronic or hard copies of the 2 additional articles/book chapters.
Attendance: Attendance of class is required because non-attendance by several students at a time will destroy the dynamic of the class. Students who miss all or part of a class session must inform me by e-mail about their absence.
Life History Project: As a life history project, you will conduct and analyze 60-minute qualitative interviews with two older adults, age 55 or above, every week for a total of 8 weeks over the course of the semester. You will interview one nursing home or assisted living facility resident and, preferably, one of your older relatives. Those interviews and analyses together with the information gained from two (auto)biographies will be used as the basis of an individual term paper that is due on April 16 during regular class time. The term paper should be between 15 and 25 pages long. You will present a summary of your term paper during the class meeting on April 16. Detailed instructions for the term paper will be distributed in class.
Cheating: I define copying parts or all of an author’s or another student’s work, allowing another student to copy parts or all of your work, or simply duplicating parts or all of your prior submissions as cheating.
WARNING: Students who are caught cheating in this way will fail the class immediately!
Exams: There are no exams in this course.
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor when requesting accommodation.
Q & A for class discussions
Interview project entries
Presentation of paper
% of Final Grade
I will not grade on a curve, i.e. your grade will depend on your absolute performance, not your performance compared to other students.
The points that you will earn can be translated into letter-grades as follows:
92.5 - 100.0 = A
90.0 - <92.5 = A-
87.5 - <90.0 = B+
82.5 - <87.5 = B
80.0 - <82.5 = B-
77.5 - <80.0 = C+
72.5 - <77.5 = C
70.0 - <72.5 = C-
67.5 - <70.0 = D+
62.5 - <67.5 = D
60.0 - <62.5 = D-
<60.0 = E
For information on current UF grading policies for assigning grade points, see http://www.registrar.ufl.edu/catalog/policies/regulationgrades.html
Tentative Class Schedule
01/08 – Introduction to the Life Course and Aging
01/15 – The Life Course Perspective
Agronin, Marc E. 2014. "From Cicero to Cohen: Developmental theories of aging, from antiquity to the present." The Gerontologist 54(1):30-39.
Elder, Glen H., Jr. 1994. “Time, human agency, and social change: Perspectives on the life course.” Social Psychology Quarterly 57(1):4-15.
Elder, Glen H., Jr., Monica K. Johnson, and Robert Crosnoe. 2004. “The emergence and development of life course theory.” Pp. 3-19 in Handbook of the life course.
Dannefer, Dale, and Richard A. Settersten. 2010. “The study of the life course: Implications for social gerontology.” Pp. 3-19 in Handbook of social gerontology, edited by Dale Dannefer and Chris Phillipson. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Optional: Atkinson, Robert. 1998. The life story interview. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.
01/22 – Normative Structuring of the Life Course and Historical and Cross-National Variability
Settersten, Richard A. 2004. “Age structuring and the rhythm of the life course.” Pp. 81-98 in Handbook of the life course.
Alwin, Duane F., and Ryan J. MCCammon. 2004. “Generations, cohorts, and social change.” Pp. 23-49 in Handbook of the life course.
Kariya, Takehiko, and James E. Rosenbaum. 2004. “Stratified incentives and life course behavior.” Pp. 51-78 in Handbook of the life course.
Leisering, Lutz. 2004. “Government and the life course.” Pp. 205-25 in Handbook of the life course.
01/29 – Distinguishing Age, Period, and Cohort Effects and Modes of Studying the Life Course
Glenn, Norval D. 2004. “Distinguishing age, period, and cohort effects.” Pp. 465-76 in Handbook of the life course.
Wu, Lawrence L. 2004. “Event history models for life course analysis.” Pp. 477-502 in Handbook of the life course.
Halaby, Charles N. 2004. “Panel models for the analysis of change and growth in the life course.” Pp. 503-27 in Handbook of the life course.
Macmillan, Ross, and Scott R. Eliason. 2004. “Characterizing the life course as role configurations and pathways: A latent structure approach.” Pp. 529-54 in Handbook of the life course.
Cohler, Bertram J., and Andrew Hostetler. 2004. “Linking life course and life story: Social change and the narrative study of lives over times.” Pp. 555-76 in Handbook of the life course.
Vaillant, George E. 2002. “The study of adult development.” Pp. 3-37 in Aging well.
Vaillant, George E. 2002. “Appendix A: The three cohorts.” Pp. 327-334 in Aging well.
02/05 – The Impact of the Family of Origin on the Life Course
Tallman, Irving. 2004. “Parental identification, couple commitment, and problem solving among newlyweds.” Pp. 103-21 in Handbook of the life course.
Uhlenberg, Peter, and Margaret Mueller. 2004. “Family context and individual well-being: Patterns and mechanisms in the life course perspective.” Pp. 123-48 in Handbook of the life course.
Repetti, Rena L., Shelley E. Taylor, and Teresa E. Seeman. 2002. "Risky families: Family social environments and the mental and physical health of offspring." Psychological Bulletin, 128: 330-36
Amato, Paul R., and Jacob Cheadle. 2005. “The long reach of divorce: Divorce and child well-being across three generations.” Journal of Marriage and Family 67(1):191-206.
02/12 – Family Relationships across the Life Course
Putney, Norella M., and Vern L. Bengston. 2004. “Intergenerational relations in changing times.” Pp. 149-64 in Handbook of the life course.
Burton, Linda M. 1996. "Age norms, the timing of family role transitions, and intergenerational caregiving among aging African American women." The Gerontologist 36(2):199-208.
Hagestad, Gunhild O. 2003. “Interdependent lives and relationships in changing times: A life-course view of families and aging.” Pp. 135-59 in Invitation to the life course: Toward new understandings of later life, edited by Richard A. Settersten. Amityville, N.Y.: Baywood.
Dykstra, Pearl A., and Tineke Fokkema. 2011. "Relationships between parents and their adult children: a West European typology of late-life families." Ageing & Society 31:545-69.
Künemund, Harald. 2006. "Changing welfare states and the "sandwich generation": Increasing burden for the next generation?" International Journal of Ageing and Later Life 1(2):11-29.
Moorman, Sara M., and Emily A. Greenfield. 2010. “Personal relationships in later life.” Pp. 20-52 in Aging in America, edited by John C. Cavanaugh and Christine K. Cavanaugh. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.
02/19 – Educational and Work Transitions
Entwisle, Doris R., Karl L. Alexander, and Linda Steffel Olson. 2004. “The first-grade transition in life course perspective.” Pp. 229-50 in Handbook of the life course.
Pallas, Aaron M. 2004. “Educational transitions, trajectories, and pathways.” Pp. 165-84 in Handbook of the life course.
Kerckhoff, Alan C. 2004. “From student to worker.” Pp. 251-67 in Handbook of the life course.
Mortimer, Jeylan T., Jeremy Staff, and Sabrina Oesterle. 2004. “Adolescent work and the early socioeconomic career.” Pp. 437-59 in Handbook of the life course.
02/26 – A Life-Course Perspective of Work and Retirement
Heinz, Walter R. 2004. “From work trajectories to negotiated careers: The contingent work life course.” Pp. 185-204 in Handbook of the life course.
Moen, Phillis. 2004. “Midcourse: Navigating retirement and a new life stage.” Pp. 269-91 in Handbook of the life course.
Henretta, John C. 2003. "A life-course perspective on work and retirement." Pp. 85-105 in Invitation to the life course: Toward new understandings of later life, edited by Richard A. Settersten. Amityville, N.Y.: Baywood.
Hendricks, Jon, and Stephen J. Cutler. 2003. "Leisure in life-course perspective " Pp. 107-34 in Invitation to the life course: Toward new understandings of later life, edited by Richard A. Settersten. Amityville, N.Y.: Baywood.
Vaillant, George E. 2002. “Retirement, play, and creativity.” Pp. 219-248 in Aging well.
03/05 – Spring Break!
03/12 – A Life-Course Perspective of Health and Successful Aging
Shanahan, Michael J., Scott M. Hofer, and Lilly Shanahan. 2004. “Biological models of behavior and the life course.” Pp. 597-622 in Handbook of the life course.
George, Linda K. 2003. “What life-course perspectives offer the study of aging and health.” Pp. 161-88 in Invitation to the life course: Toward new understandings of later life, edited by Richard A. Settersten. Amityville, N.Y.: Baywood.
Willson, Andrea E., Kim M. Shuey, and Glen H. Elder Jr. 2007. “Cumulative advantage processes as mechanisms of inequality in life course health.” American Journal of Sociology 112(6):1886-924.
Hatch, Laurie Russell, and Jon Hendricks. 2010. “Aging and the life course: Under the lifestyle umbrella.” Pp. 106-28 in Aging in America, edited by John C. Cavanaugh and Christine K. Cavanaugh. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.
Frytak, Jennifer R., Carolyn R. Harley, and Michael D. Finch. 2004. “Socioeconomic status and health over the life course: Capital as a unifying concept.” Pp. 623-43 in Handbook of the life course.
Vaillant, George E. 2002. “Healthy aging: A second pass.” Pp. 185-218 in Aging well.
03/19 – Connections between Early and Subsequent Life Phases
McLeod, Jane D., and Elbert P. Almazan. 2004. “Connections between childhood and adulthood.” Pp. 391-411 in Handbook of the life course.
Schulenberg, John E., Jennifer L. Maggs, and Patrick M. O'Malley. 2004. “How and why the understanding of developmental continuity and discontinuity is important: The sample case of long-term consequences of adolescent substance abuse.” Pp. 413-36 in Handbook of the life course.
Vaillant, George E. 2002. “Ripeness is all: Social and emotional maturation.” Pp. 39-82 in Aging well.
Vaillant, George E. 2002. “The past and how much it matters.” Pp. 83-112 in Aging well.
03/26 – Turning Points in the Life Course
Sampson, Robert J., and John H. Laub. 2004. “Desistance from crime over the life course.” Pp. 295-309 in Handbook of the life course.
Uggen, Christopher, and Michael Massoglia. 2004. “Desistance from crime and deviance as a turning point in the life course.” Pp. 311-29 in Handbook of the life course.
Jasso, Guillermina. 2004. “Migration, human development, and the life course.” Pp. 331-64 in Handbook of the life course.
Vaillant, George E. 2002. “Generativity: A key to successful aging.” Pp. 113-139 in Aging well.
Vaillant, George E. 2002. “Keeper of the meaning.” Pp. 141-158 in Aging well.
Vaillant, George E. 2002. “Integrity: Death be not proud.” Pp. 159-183 in Aging well.
04/02 – Psychosocial, Personality, and Spiritual Development across the Life Course
Gecas, Viktor. 2004. “Self-agency and the life course.” Pp. 369-88 in Handbook of the life course.
Wahl, Hans-Werner, Susanne Iwarsson, and Frank Oswald. 2012. "Aging well and the environment: Toward an integrative model and research agenda for the future." The Gerontologist 52(3):306-16.
Roberts, Brent W., Richard W. Robins, Kali H. Trzesniewski, and Avshalom Caspi. 2004. “Personality trait development in adulthood.” Pp. 579-95 in Handbook of the life course.
Ardelt, Monika. 2000. “Still stable after all these years? Personality stability theory revisited.” Social Psychology Quarterly, Special Millennium Issue on The State of Sociological Social Psychology 63(4):392-405.
Aldwin, Carolyn M., Michael R. Levenson, and Linda Kelly. 2009. “Life span developmental perspectives on stress-related growth.” Pp. 87-104 in Medical illness and positive life change: Can crisis lead to personal transformation?, edited by Crystal L. Park, Suzanne C. Lechner, Michael H. Antoni, and Annette L. Stanton: Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.
Ardelt, Monika. 2010. “Age, experience, and the beginning of wisdom.” Pp. 306-16 in Handbook of social gerontology, edited by Dale Dannefer and Chris Phillipson. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Ai, Amy L., Paul Wink, and Monika Ardelt. 2010. “Spirituality and aging: A journey for meaning through deep interconnection in humanity.” Pp. 222-46 in Aging in America, edited by John C. Cavanaugh and Christine K. Cavanaugh. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.
Vaillant, George E. 2002. “Does wisdom increase with age?” Pp. 249-256 in Aging well.
Vaillant, George E. 2002. “Spirituality, religion, and old age.” Pp. 257-279 in Aging well.
Vaillant, George E. 2002. “Do people really change over time?” Pp. 281-306 in Aging well.
Vaillant, George E. 2002. “Positive aging: A reprise.” Pp. 307-325 in Aging well.
04/09 – The Future of the Life Course
Dannefer, Dale. 2004. “Toward a global geography of the life course: Challenges of late modernity for life course theory.” Pp. 647-59 in Handbook of the life course.
Furstenberg, Frank F. 2004. “Reflections on the future of the life course.” Pp. 661-70 in Handbook of the life course.
George, Linda K. 2004. “Life course research: Achievements and potential.” Pp. 671-80 in Handbook of the life course.
Hogan, Dennis P., and Frances K. Goldscheider. 2004. “Success and challenges in demographic studies of the life course.” Pp. 681-91 in Handbook of the life course.
O'Rand, Angela M. 2004. “The future of the life course: Late modernity and life course risks.” Pp. 693-701 in Handbook of the life course.
Weymann, Ansgar. 2004. “Future of the life course.” Pp. 703-14 in Handbook of the life course.
04/16 – Class Presentations of Papers