Ethical and Legal Issues in Transitioning the Lifespan

  • Steven Nisenbaum
  • Madelaine Claire Weiss
  • Daniel Shapiro


Ethics and law are pivotal inventions for managing stress throughout the life cycle, especially at critical junctures of key life event and stage-of-life transitions. Perhaps this proposition seems improbable, if not patently preposterous, in part, because stress is mostly regarded as a medical event and a psychological challenge rather than an ethicolegal problem. Or perhaps the logic appears ironic, as ethical quandary and the entire edifice of law, litigation, and administration of justice is perceived by many of us as a stressor in life, exacerbating anguish at occurrences that beg for resolution and relief.

Nevertheless, in this chapter, in Part One, we will briefly examine the evolutionary origins of law and ethics as a social institution for stress regulation. In Part Two, we will survey and highlight the scope and content of modern law and ethics for life transition stress, because what these institutions regulate will vary at different developmental stages of societal organization. As we will show in Part Three, twenty-first century modernist notions of rights and entitlements for protection, and for access to the advantages of civilization, make imperative that we regularly revisit and refine this institution upon which our stress regulation, if not survival, continues to depend. Finally, we will examine the issue of formidable iatrogenic stress contributed by moral quandary and navigating legal systems, and conclude with the prospects for a better future approach.


Social Security Pension Plan National Labor Relation Board Retirement Plan Moral Faculty 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Nisenbaum
  • Madelaine Claire Weiss
    • 1
  • Daniel Shapiro
  1. 1.Harvard Medical SchoolCambridgeUSA

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