Psychology in the News

Introduction

The debate on psychological risks associated with Aging has elicited mixed reactions from different scholars. It is worth to note the intensity of media coverage of the topic and the unprecedented reaction owing to the reality of aging. In fact, various blogs among other forms of media discusses the psychological theories surrounding aging and emerging issues. Stereotypes surrounding old age is at the center of research in regard to its influence on the possible development of Alzheimer’s. It is therefore imperative to establish the existing relationship between negative stereotypes on aging, stress and risks of Alzheimer’s.

 

Summary

The article Negative stereotypes about aging linked to increased Alzheimer’s risk offers an insight into the effects of stereotypes on aging. Alzheimer condition is highlighted as common among the aging population. However, the rate at which different people across the world encounter the condition differs on the basis of the stereotypes. The article explains that there are negative aging stereotypes that facilitate development of Alzheimer among other psychological conditions related to aging. There are several negative stereotypes that characterize daily psychological experiences of people as they hit forty years upwards. The collection of literature reviews from different scholars validates the articles position on stereotypes surrounding aging. In most instances, people who embrace such negative side of the stereotypes exhibit higher probability of psychological disorders. In essence, the position of the article is based on observed cases and qualitative research as evidenced by the contribution of other psychology scholars. The stress response is a factor of negative aging stereotypes. In other words, the article reveals past surveys that indicates hippocampus as increasing in volume proportionate to the intensity of thoughts on aging stereotypes. Negative views have direct relationship with brain changes and as one moves towards advanced age, mental and psychological impairments emerge. Cultural environment explains variation in the prospects of risks from such negative stereotypes. In fact, the article is critical in the issue of positive thinking on aging. In addition to Alzheimer, there are other medical conditions associated with negative stereotypes. Such diseases include increased heartbeat and blood pressure. However, the psychological burden of aging overrides other risks. The article conclusively draws a positive correlation between negative stereotypes on aging and risk of Alzheimer.

 

Significant issues in the News article

The news present new findings that seek to shed more light on the psychological aspects of aging. The article introduces the role of negative stereotypes in increasing risk of developing such condition as Alzheimer. The News points out that the relationship between aging stereotypes and Alzheimer is initiated by stress. While alternative arguments associate old age with automatic psychological conditions, this article emphasizes the influence of cultural practices in stereotypes related to old age. The article elicits debate on the pathological changes on the brain as attributable to stress.

By highlighting comparative stress level between American population and India, the author supports underlying psychological theories that explain stress at old age. It is also shocking to note that despite the American better living standard, its aging population show higher risk of Alzheimer than comparatively less developed India. Resolving such an observation requires in-depth research and total commitment from various stakeholders in the healthcare sector. It is worth to note that the article exposes emerging issues in psychology in as far as beliefs about aging are concerned.

 

The article explore  the continuity theory which states that the middle aged and older adults maintain and preserve external structures through the making of adaptive choices, the individuals achieve this through holding on to the experiences they had in the past and the dictates of their society. The article “Negative stereotypes about aging linked to increased Alzheimer’s risk” highlights the effects of negative stereotypes on an individual’s health. The article outlines results from a research which was carried out in a bid to establish the impact of the negative stereotypes on the health of an individual. The research was able to establish that a person who holds negative perceptions concerning the aging process was more likely to experience deterioration in health as compared to the person who was positive about it. The research, in analyzing this factor, measured the volume of the hippocampus-memory controlling part of the brain; this was done with the aid of the MRI exam. Those who had negative perceptions concerning aging had the volume of this important art of their brain reducing in volume while those who were positive experienced no significant change. The individuals who were conscripted for the research never changed their perceptions towards life and aging issues throughout the years in which they were interviewed. In the end, the researchers were able to ascertain that the perceptions they had, played a big role in their aging process. The research proposes that the individuals who later became victims of the problem had the negative stereotypes imparted on them from their early childhood and hence the explanation for the determination to hold on to their views throughout their lives. This aspect also resonates clearly with the theory of continuity.

The disengagement theory which states that with advancement in age, individuals tend to isolate themselves from other people in their society as they realize the inevitability of death, is also evident in the article. According to the above highlighted article, the issue of stress and negative perceptions impacts negatively on the brain cells. The individuals are also at a high risk of developing hypertension and other related ailments. This negative stereotypes impacts negatively in an individual’s life as they age. One of the major health conditions which can be attributed to this is the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The research directly links the occurrence of this disease to negative stereotypes and by extension it can be related to the disengagement theory of aging. Once an individual isolates himself from the rest of the society, the stress levels will rise as a result of the buildup pressure combined with the many thoughts concerning the inevitable end of their lives. This will result in the manifestation of hypertension and related illnesses. The stress levels also lead to chemical and biological changes in the brain- stress leads to the development of amyloid plaques which are the proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease. According to the research, such negative perceptions concerning aging accelerate the aging process. The hippocampus’s reduction in volume is one aspect which alludes to this theory. The disengagement theory is clearly revealed in the article at the particular moment when the individuals, at the prime of their lives- when the majority were between the ages 50 to 60- were interviewed concerning their views on aging. The lot which held negative perceptions during this moment of their lives were the ones who ended up experiencing negative impacts on their health.

Conclusion

The research results highlighted in the article have a strong relationship with the issues we discussed in class. In observing the findings from the research, we are able to identify new information that has been added to this field of knowledge. As such, the article is a wealth of information worthy of being noted.

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