SAGE Journal Articles
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Abstract: The life course perspective and representative U.S. data are used to test Rowe and Kahn’s Successful Aging (SA) conceptualization. Four sets of influences (childhood experiences, social structural factors, adult attainments, and later life behaviors) on SA transitions are examined to determine the relative role of structural factors and individual behaviors in SA. Method: Eight waves of Health and Retirement Study data for 12,108 respondents, 51 years and older, are used in logistic regression models predicting transitions out of SA status. Results: Social structural factors and childhood experiences had a persistent influence on transitions from SA, even after accounting for adult attainments and later life behaviors—both of which also impact SA outcomes. Discussion: The findings on sustained social structural influences call into question claims regarding the modifiability of SA outcomes originally made in presentation of the SA model. Implications for policy and the focus and timing of intervention are considered.
Learning Objective: 1.3: Identify some of the theoretical roots of the life course perspective, 1.6: Evaluate the strengths and limitations of the life course perspective.
Journal Article 1.2: Pudrovska, T. (2014). Early-Life Socioeconomic Status and Mortality at Three Life Course Stages: An Increasing Within-Cohort Inequality, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 55(2): 181 – 195.
Abstract: Using the 1957–2011 data from 10,317 participants in the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, I examine how socioeconomic status (SES) at age 18 affects all-cause mortality between ages 18 and 72. Integrating fundamental cause theory, gender relations theory, and a life course perspective, I evaluate the cumulative advantage (CA) and age-as-leveler processes as well as gender differences in these processes. Findings indicate that higher early-life SES at age 18 is related to lower mortality over the life course, and the effect of early-life SES is not explained by socioeconomic achievement and health behaviors in adulthood. Consistent with the CA model, early-life SES generates increasing within-cohort inequality with age, and this CA process is stronger for women than men. Results also show that unequal selection by SES obscures the CA process and creates an illusion of the age-as-leveler process. This study calls for a lifelong gendered approach to socioeconomic health disparities
Learning Objective: 1.4: Summarize five basic concepts of the life course perspective (cohorts, transitions, trajectories, life events, and turning points), 1.5: Critique six major themes of the life course perspective (interplay of human lives and historical time, timing of lives, linked or interdependent lives, human agency in making choices, diversity in life course trajectories, and risk and protection).
Abstract: The Modified Erikson Psychosocial Stage Inventory (MEPSI) is an 80-item, comprehensive measure of psychosocial development based on Erikson’s theory with published reliability and validity data. Although designed as a comprehensive measure, some researchers have used individual subscales for specific developmental stages as a measure; however, these subscale reliability scores have not been generally shared. This article reviewed the literature to evaluate the use of the MEPSI: the major research questions, samples/populations studied, and individual subscale and total reliability and validity data. In total, 16 research articles (1990-2011) and 28 Dissertations/Theses (1991-2016) from nursing, social work, psychology, criminal justice, and religious studies met criteria. Results support the MEPSI’s global reliability (aggregate scores ranged .89-.99) and validity in terms of consistent patterns of changes observed in the predicted direction. Reliability and validity data for individual subscales were more variable. Limitations of the tool and recommendations for possible revision and future research are addressed.
Learning Objective: 1.7: Recognize where themes of the life course perspective are consistent with eight other major theoretical perspectives on human behavior, 1.8: Apply basic concepts and major themes of the life course perspective to recommend guidelines for social work engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation.