The aging of the population of the United States is occurring at a time of major economic and social changes. These economic changes include consideration of increases in the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare and possible changes in benefit levels. Furthermore, changes in the social context in which older individuals and families function may well affect the nature of key social relationships and institutions that define the environment for older persons. Sociology offers a knowledge base, a number of useful analytic approaches and tools, and unique theoretical perspectives that can facilitate understanding of these demographic, economic, and social changes and, to the extent possible, their causes, consequences and implications.
New Directions in the Sociology of Aging evaluates the recent contributions of social demography, social epidemiology and sociology to the study of aging and identifies promising new research directions in these sub-fields. Included in this study are nine papers prepared by experts in sociology, demography, social genomics, public health, and other fields, that highlight the broad array of tools and perspectives that can provide the basis for further advancing the understanding of aging processes in ways that can inform policy. This report discusses the role of sociology in what is a wide-ranging and diverse field of study; a proposed three-dimensional conceptual model for studying social processes in aging over the life cycle; a review of existing databases, data needs and opportunities, primarily in the area of measurement of interhousehold and intergenerational transmission of resources, biomarkers and biosocial interactions; and a summary of roadblocks and bridges to transdisciplinary research that will affect the future directions of the field of sociology of aging.
Table of Contents
|PART I: FINAL REPORT||1-2|
|1 Introduction and Approach||9-13|
|2 A Conceptual Model of Aging for the Next Generation of Research||14-30|
|3 Data Needs and Opportunities||31-55|
|4 Roadblocks and Bridges to Transdisciplinary Research||56-66|
|Appendix: Biographical Sketches of Panel Members||76-80|
|PART II: PAPERS||81-82|
|5 Introduction and Overview--Linda J. Waite||83-94|
|6 The New Realities of Aging: Social and Economic Contexts--Jacqueline L. Angel and Richard A. Settersten, Jr.||95-119|
|7 Research Opportunities in the Demography of Aging--Melissa Hardy and Vegard Skirbekk||120-150|
|8 Networks, Neighborhoods, and Institutions: An Integrated "Activity Space" Approach for Research on Aging--Kathleen A. Cagney, Christopher R. Browning, Aubrey L. Jackson, and Brian Soller||151-174|
|9 Constrained Choices: The Shifting Institutional Contexts of Aging and the Life Course--Phyllis Moen||175-216|
|10 Opportunities and Challenges in the Study of Biosocial Dynamics in Healthy Aging--Tara L. Gruenewald||217-242|
|11 The Loyal Opposition: A Commentary on "Opportunities and Challenges in the Study of Biosocial Dynamics in Healthy Aging"--Maxine Weinstein, Dana A. Glei, and Noreen Goldman||243-254|
|12 Social Genomics and the Life Course: Opportunities and Challenges for Multilevel Population Research--Michael J. Shanahan||255-276|
|13 The Challenge of Social Genomics: A Commentary on "Social Genomics and the Life Course: Opportunities and Challenges for Multilevel Population Research"--Jason Schnittker||277-283|
|14 Interventions to Promote Health and Prevent Disease: Perspectives on Clinical Trials Past, Present, and Future--S. Leonard Syme and Abby C. King||284-300|
|Committee on Population||301-302|
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