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Families, Aging, and Social Change: Seven Agendas for 21st-Century Researchers

Families, Aging, and Social Change: Seven Agendas for 21st-Century Researchers CHAYfER2 Families, Aging, and Social Change: Seven Agendas for 21st-Century Researchers VERN L. BENGTSON AARP/UNIVERSIYY Of SOtrrHERN CALIFORNIA MERRIL SILVERSTElN DEPARTMENT OF POI'ULATION STUDIES, BROWN UNIVERSITY Gerontology is a relatively young science, and the first empirical studies focus­ ing on family issues associated with aging were published on ly a half-century ago . In the history of science this is an ex.tremely short time frame in which to develop knowledge concerning specific phenomena. To establish empirical gen­ eralizations, develop relevant conceptual groupings, construct and test hypotheses, and suggest theories 10 explain empirical regularities, each is a crucial step in the process of scientific knowledge-development. and each takes time to develop. Nevertheless the social changes experienced during recent decades regarding aging-principally demographic, with attendant socioeconomic and policy con­ sequcnces- have focused attention on the problems of families and ag in g to an unprecedented degree. First, as Rosow (1965) noted, there were questions of the social integration of the aged-when kin were not the primary source of integration and support, as in "traditional" societies. Second, as Shanas (1979) described it , there was the "hydra-headed" stereotype of American ciders iso­ lated from or abandoned by their kin-a stereotype quite unsupported http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Annual Review of Gerontology & Geriatrics Springer Publishing

Families, Aging, and Social Change: Seven Agendas for 21st-Century Researchers

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Publisher
Springer Publishing
ISSN
0198-8794
eISSN
1944-4036
DOI
10.1891/0198-8794.13.1.15
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

CHAYfER2 Families, Aging, and Social Change: Seven Agendas for 21st-Century Researchers VERN L. BENGTSON AARP/UNIVERSIYY Of SOtrrHERN CALIFORNIA MERRIL SILVERSTElN DEPARTMENT OF POI'ULATION STUDIES, BROWN UNIVERSITY Gerontology is a relatively young science, and the first empirical studies focus­ ing on family issues associated with aging were published on ly a half-century ago . In the history of science this is an ex.tremely short time frame in which to develop knowledge concerning specific phenomena. To establish empirical gen­ eralizations, develop relevant conceptual groupings, construct and test hypotheses, and suggest theories 10 explain empirical regularities, each is a crucial step in the process of scientific knowledge-development. and each takes time to develop. Nevertheless the social changes experienced during recent decades regarding aging-principally demographic, with attendant socioeconomic and policy con­ sequcnces- have focused attention on the problems of families and ag in g to an unprecedented degree. First, as Rosow (1965) noted, there were questions of the social integration of the aged-when kin were not the primary source of integration and support, as in "traditional" societies. Second, as Shanas (1979) described it , there was the "hydra-headed" stereotype of American ciders iso­ lated from or abandoned by their kin-a stereotype quite unsupported

Journal

Annual Review of Gerontology & GeriatricsSpringer Publishing

Published: Jan 1, 1993

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