Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Psychology of Ageing

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit examines the theoretical issues and research findings in the psychology of ageing and age-related concerns. It provides a critical analysis of the process of ageing and how it affects psychological processes, with a focus on the study of normal ageing. It also examines conditions and disorders common among older adults such as dementias and chronic medical and physical conditions and psychological interventions tailored to support older adults.

Study Unit Aims:

To engage the student in critically and creatively consider possible psychosocial interventions for the challenges brought about by an ageing society.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge and Understanding
By the end of the study unit the student will be able:

- To evaluate material on theoretical perspectives, concepts and issues on ageing;
- To discuss the changes that older people go through from a biopsychosocial perspective;
- To review and critically reflect on how physical and health changes, cognitive functioning, relationships, personality and ageing, have an influence on mental health problems and adjustment in later life;
- To apply knowledge of psychological ageing and its implications to different social and cultural contexts.

2. Skills
By the end of the study unit the student will be able to:

- Reflect about the role of a psychologist and their contribution to gerontological and geriatric issues;
- Demonstrate competence in creatively engage with challenges associated with old age;
- Review research on the area of gerontology and geriatrics and consider appropriate psychosocial interventions.

Tentative Study-unit Outline:

Demographics and definitions of ageing; models of ageing change, biopsychosocial perspective; physical, sensory, and health changes; cognitive functioning; creativity and ageing; memory and ageing; performance of older adults on tests and problems with testing older people; personality and ageing; relationships in late adulthood, disengagement and activity theory; mental health in later life; physical and mental health problems and disability in late adulthood, including dementias and chronic illness, interventions related to physical, medical, neurological and psychiatric conditions; retirement; grief and death.

Required Text:

- Stuart-Hamilton, I. (2012). The psychology of ageing: an introduction. 4th edition Jessica Kingsley Publishers (or latest edition).
- Whitbourne, S. K. (2010). Adult development and aging. Biopsychosocial Perspectives. 3rd edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc (or latest edition).
- Kuther, T. L. (2017). Lifespan development: Lives in context. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-requisite Study-unit: PSY1623

This study-unit is only offered to students with Psychology as an area of study.

Please note that the pre-requisites for this study-unit are not required for non-BPsy students.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Take Home Examination (24 Hours) SEM2 Yes 100%


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The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.