Assessment of Older Adults

  • Barry Edelstein
  • Natalie Staats
  • Kimberly D. Kalish
  • Lynn Emer Northrop
Part of the The Springer Series in Adult Development and Aging book series (SSAD)


The psychological assessment of older adults poses challenges for the clinician comparable to those faced by such eminent sleuths as Hercule Poirot, Jessica Fletcher, and even Sherlock Holmes. Indeed, anyone drawn to murder mysteries would find the assessment of older adults an equally challenging, intriguing, and provocative undertaking. The thorough assessment of an older adult has many of the characteristics of a murder investigation, requiring consideration of the intimate interplay of physical, psychological, and environmental variables. Any investigator or clinician worthy of his or her salt would, for example, question everyone familiar with the behavior of the individual of interest (never trusting one source), directly inspect the environment in which behaviors of interest occurred, employ the most accurate, reliable, and valid measurement instruments, gather clues resulting from the interactions of the target individual with the environment, obtain descriptions or directly observe the interaction of the target individual with significant others, determine who gained and who suffered as a consequence of the individual’s behavior, assemble clues (assessment results) from multiple sources to establish convergent validity for hypotheses, and systematically test hypotheses until a satisfactory and empirically defensible conclusion could be reached. Though the assessment of older adults and the investigation of a murder share principles and procedures, they part company with the consideration of their functions, notwithstanding the analogous relationship between a murderer and a disease or disorder.


Personality Disorder Assessment Instrument American Psychological Association Geriatric Depression Scale Behavioral Assessment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Edelstein
    • 1
  • Natalie Staats
    • 1
  • Kimberly D. Kalish
    • 1
  • Lynn Emer Northrop
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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