Aging Theory Research Assignment

The purpose of this assignment is to show your understanding of the theoretical basis for agerelated programs, activities, and services. You are asked to analyze one age-related theory and
describe its application to professional practice. The grading rubric for this assignment is listed
• Describe your interpretation of the role that aging theories play in promoting high
quality services and programs for older adults (15%). Use the questions listed here to
stimulate your thought process as you write your response. Also consider reviewing the
textbook content from Unit 1 to generate some additional questions to guide your reflection.
Why do we need theories in general? What is their function (i.e., purpose)? How are theories
different from personal (anecdotal) experiences or educated guesses? How do aging theories
change our perception of older adults and the process of aging? (i.e., what are the commonly
held myths that they dispel?) What is their relevance to those who work with older adults and
create programs and services for the aged? How can the quality of programs and services be
improved by these theories?
• Identify one biological, social, or developmental theory* that you have selected to
analyze in this assignment (15%). Describe the premise of the theory you have selected.
Identify its components and relevant definitions: What are the concepts that serve as the
framework for the theory? What is the proposed relationship between the identified
concepts? What are the stated assumptions (i.e., hypotheses)? What behavior is the theory
attempting to explain? What specific population does this theory apply to? What population
groups and behaviors are excluded from this theory? How and why was this theory
• Identify one research study that has been conducted in the past and whose findings
support the tenets of the theory (20%). Important: The most common mistake students
make pertains to this section. Students are asked to look for an actual research study
published in a peer-reviewed journal (either quantitative or qualitative) and not an editorial
review. Refer to the pre-recorded PPT on Blackboard titled “Reviewing Research Articles”
for more information on this. What was the purpose of the research study? How was the
study hypothesis connected to the theory you chose for your paper? (Be specific). What were
the variables studied? Who were the subjects and how were they selected? (i.e., what
inclusion and exclusion criteria were used to select the subjects and why?) What was the
specific type of research design? What methods were used to analyze the data? What were
the results? Was the hypothesis supported or rejected? What was the conclusion? What were
the recommendations?
• Identify the limitations of the theory (15%). What age-related phenomena can you identify
that cannot be explained by or are in contradiction to this theory? What recommendations can
you make for further studies based on these limitations?
• Identify how you could apply this theory in your own professional practice (15%).
Think broadly here; even if you are not planning a career in aging services, you are likely to
work with older adults in some capacity in your future, whether as colleagues or clients.
What service or program can you propose that would benefit older adults and that is rooted in
this theory? Be specific in your answer and provide a rationale for your position.
• Quality of writing (20%): Follow the criteria in the General Grading Rubric for Writing.
Be sure to write this assignment in your own words, rather than “regurgitate” or heavily
quote from the original sources. For the purposes of grading, a well written assignment
shows the writer’s solid grasp of the content through depth of analysis, rather than simple
paraphrasing. Follow APA style for writing and formatting your assignment, citations, and
references. If you are not familiar with APA, use the resources provided on Blackboard to
help you. Prior to uploading your file, give it a name using the following format:
AGNG200_LastName_FirstName_FileName. Submit your assignment using SafeAssign on
Blackboard no later than 11:59 pm on the specified due date.
*Some examples of age-related theories to consider are:
Biological: Programmed Longevity, Endocrine Theory, Immunological theory, Wear and tear
theory, Rate of living theory, Cross-linking theory, Free radical theory, Somatic DNA damage
Note: If you are interested in exploring a biological theory, but cannot decide on a specific one,
consider reviewing the NIH paper titled “Aging Under The Microscope” for some ideas
Psychosocial and Developmental: Successful aging (R.J.Havighurst, 1961; Rowe and Khan,
1981), Disengagement (Cummings and Henry, 1961), Activity (Lemon, Bengtson & Peterson,
1970), Continuity (Atchley, 1972), Socioemotional selectivity theory (Carstensen, 1992),
Gerotranscendence (Tornstam, 1994)
Note: While the older psychosocial theories are considered “classic” and are frequently cited in
textbooks, there are many contemporary theorists, such as Carstensen and Tornstam, whose work
is quite “fashionable” at the present moment and is being feverishly studied by many. Depending
on your preference, you may find the latter group more relevant to your personal experiences,
and therefore, more fun to write about

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