Age, Aging, and Mental Health

Chapter
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)

Abstract

Generalizations regarding the epidemiology of aging and mental health are contingent on how one defines mental health. This chapter considers the relationship between age and both mental disorder and positive elements of mental health, positing that many older adults live with a low-grade concern or anxiety about the future coupled with fairly high levels of happiness. Using a life course perspective, mental health inequalities are summarized along several axes of stratification. Stress process, crisis, and cumulative inequality theories are profiled for advancing research on aging and mental health. The chapter concludes by identifying some of the frontiers for breakthrough discoveries regarding aging and mental health.

Keywords

mental health mental disorder life course theory mental health disparities depression anxiety substance abuse 

Abbreviations

AD

Alzheimer’s disease

CES-D

Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale

DSM

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

DSM-IV

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition

NCS-R

National Comorbidity Survey Replication

SES

Socioeconomic status

GSS

General Social Survey

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Center on Aging and the Life CoursePurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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