Aging Theory Research Assignment

Aging Theory Research Assignment

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Aging Theory Research Assignment

The purpose of this assignment is to show your understanding of the theoretical basis for age-related programs, activities, and services.

You are asked to analyze one age-related theory and describe its application to professional practice. The grading rubric for this

assignment is listed below:

 Describe your interpretation of the role that aging theories play in promoting high quality services and programs for older

adults (15%). Use the questions listed here to stimulate your thought process as you write your response. Also consider reviewing

the textbook content from Unit 1 to generate some additional questions to guide your reflection. Why do we need theories in

general? What is their function (i.e., purpose)? How are theories different from personal (anecdotal) experiences or educated

guesses? How do aging theories change our perception of older adults and the process of aging? (i.e., what are the commonly held

myths that they dispel?) What is their relevance to those who work with older adults and create programs and services for the

aged? How can the quality of programs and services be improved by these theories?

 Identify one biological, social, or developmental theory* that you have selected to analyze in this assignment (15%).

Describe the premise of the theory you have selected. Identify its components and relevant definitions: What are the concepts that

serve as the framework for the theory? What is the proposed relationship between the identified concepts? What are the stated

assumptions (i.e., hypotheses)? What behavior is the theory attempting to explain? What specific population does this theory apply

to? What population groups and behaviors are excluded from this theory? How and why was this theory developed?

 Identify one research study that has been conducted in the past and whose findings support the tenets of the theory (20%).

Important: The most common mistake students make pertain to this section. Therefore, look for an actual research study published

in a peer-reviewed journal (either quantitative or qualitative) and not an editorial review. Refer to the pre-recorded PPT on

Blackboard titled “Reviewing Research Articles” for more information on this. What was the purpose of the research study? How

was the study hypothesis connected to the theory you chose for your paper? (Be specific). What were the variables studied? Who

were the subjects and how were they selected? What was the research design? What methods were used to analyze the data? What

were the results? Was the hypothesis supported or rejected? What was the conclusion? What were the recommendations?

 Identify the limitations of the theory (15%). What age-related phenomena can you identify that cannot be explained by or are in

contradiction to this theory? What recommendations can you make for further studies based on these limitations?

 Identify how you could apply this theory in your own professional practice (15%). Think broadly here; even if you are not

planning a career in aging services, you are likely to work with older adults in some capacity in your future, whether as colleagues

or clients. What service or program can you propose that would benefit older adults and that is rooted in this theory? Be specific

in your answer and provide a rationale for your position.

 Quality of writing (20%): Follow the criteria in the General Grading Rubric for Writing. Be sure to write this assignment in

your own words, rather than “regurgitate” or heavily quote from the original sources. For the purposes of grading, a well written

assignment shows the writer’s solid grasp of the content through depth of analysis, rather than simple paraphrasing. Limit your

assignment length to 4-7 pages. Follow APA style for writing and formatting your assignment, citations, and references. If you are

not familiar with APA, use the resources provided on Blackboard to help you. Prior to uploading your file, give it a name using the

following format: AGNG200_LastName_FirstName_FileName – 20 pts. Submit your assignment using SafeAssign on Blackboard

no later than 12 midnight on the last day of week 9.

*Some examples of age-related theories to consider are:

Biological: Programmed Longevity, Endocrine Theory, Immunological theory , Wear and tear theory, Rate of living theory, Cross-

linking theory, Free radicals theory, Somatic DNA damage theory.

Note: If you are interested in exploring a biological theory, but cannot decide on a specific one, consider reviewing the NIH paper

titled “Aging Under The Microscope” for some ideas (access here:


Psychosocial and Developmental: Successful aging (R.J.Havighurst, 1961; Rowe and Khan, 1981), Disengagement (Cummings and

Henry, 1961), Activity (Lemon, Bengtson & Peterson, 1970), Continuity (Atchley, 1972), Socioemotional selectivity theory

(Carstensen, 1992), Gerotranscendence (Tornstam, 1994)

Note: While the older psychosocial theories are considered “classic” and are frequently cited in textbooks, there are many

contemporary theorists, such as Carstensen and Tornstam, whose work is quite “fashionable” at the present moment and is being

feverishly studied by many. Depending on your preference, you may find the latter group more relevant to your personal experiences,

and therefore, more fun to write about.

General Grading Rubric for Writing: Each of the written assignment/activity grading rubric listed below will include a component

on the writing quality. The criteria for evaluation are as follows:

Criteria Exemplary

(full points)


(partial points)

Below Average

(no points)

Organization Organization is coherent, logical, and effective in support of the paper’s

purpose/description and consistently demonstrates effective and appropriate rhetorical transitions between ideas and paragraphs.

Organization is coherent and generally logically organized. Some points remain misplaced and stray from the topic. Rationale to support statements is scarcely present.

Organization is confused and fragmented; little or no rationale is provided in support of ideas. There is a lack of structure or coherence that negatively affects readability.

Level of Content

Content indicates synthesis of ideas, in-depth analysis, and evidences original thought and support for the topic. Limits direct quotation to only select, highly relevant concepts.

Content indicates thinking and reasoning applied with original thought on a few ideas. Uses direct quotes in lieu of own interpretations.

Shows some thinking and reasoning but most ideas are underdeveloped and unoriginal. Uses excessive quotation;

personal interpretation is absent.

Development Development is fresh, with abundant details and examples that arouse the

audience’s interest and provide relevant, concrete, specific, and insightful evidence in support of sound logic.

Development is sufficient but general, providing adequate, but perhaps not interesting details, examples, and evidence that include no logical fallacies or unsupported claims.

Development is insufficient, providing scarce or inappropriate details, evidence, and examples that may include logical fallacies or unsupported claims.

Grammar &



Essay is free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors; absent of fragments, comma splices, and run-ons. Style is consistent with academic expectations, rhetorically effective in tone.

Most spelling, punctuation, and grammar are correct, allowing reader to progress through reading the paper. Some errors are evident.

Style approaches academic level.

Spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors create distraction, making

reading difficult and obscuring the meaning. The reader is confused and

stops reading. Style is non-academic and colloquial.

APA Format Tile page is present with appropriately formatted running head and page

numbers; follows Times New Roman 12 font; all ideas not original to the author are referenced in the text, as well as in the References section. All references (paraphrased and direct quotes) are properly formatted. One or more of the components described to the left are absent.

Title page is absent. References are absent or not formatted properly.