Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

CCOG for PSY 236 Spring 2023

View archive version »
Course Number:
PSY 236
Course Title:
Psychology of Adult Development and Aging
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Provides an overview of the biological, cognitive, and psychosocial aspects of adulthood and aging including theories of aging and specific research in the field of gerontology. Focuses on genetic and environmental factors that influence health as we age. Includes the challenges specific to gender, ability level, and culture. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Recommended: PSY 201 or PSY 201A or PSY 215. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

Topics include age-related changes in memory and other cognitive abilities, self-perceptions, mental health (including addictions, Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias), personality changes, coping with stress as well as changes that arise as people adapt to various life transitions (widowhood, retirement, loss, etc.). Myths and stereotypes associated with aging are examined as they relate to specific effects on individuals.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Use knowledge of biological, cognitive, and psychosocial processes in order to assist self and others to understand various aging trajectories.
  2. Assess the psychosocial needs of specific adult populations with varying physical and cognitive functioning levels and plan how those needs could be met within specific living situations.
  3. Critically evaluate research on biological, cognitive, and psychosocial issues as they arise in a rapidly changing and aging world.
  4. Apply concepts from developmental psychology to optimize aging in self and others.

Course Activities and Design

Course activities include but not limited to class discussions, group projects, research, media presentations (audio & video), class activities (role playing, simulations, etc.) journaling, reading, internet activities, investigating and critiquing programs for adult living.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Students will demonstrate achievement of course outcomes by any of the following:
1. Written assignments designed to promote integration of class material with personal reflection and experience.
2. Written or oral assignments designed to stimulate critical thinking.
3. Multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions that require integration, application, and critical examination of material covered in class.
4. Active participation in class discussion.
5. Participation in individual and group exercises, activities, or class presentations.
6. Design and completion of research projects.
7. Service learning activities.
8. Participation in online discussions and/or completion of assignments through electronic media.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

1. Overview of theories and models of aging
2. Methodology used in aging research.
3. Ageism and its effects.
4. Biological theories of aging.
5. Health and lifestyle factors in aging.
6. Cognitive functions: attention, information processing, memory, problem solving, creativity, wisdom, and intelligence.
7. Psychosocial issues of work, retirement, leisure, friendships, and intimacy as relevant to individuals.
8. Social contexts of aging and their effects on individuals and communities.
9. Personality traits, patterns of coping, stress, mental health and addictions.
10. Planning for one’s own aging future: long-term care, end of life issues.
11. Cultural, contextual, and personal aspects of death and dying.
Competencies and Skills: Specifically students will demonstrate the following in construction of a personal plan for aging--
1. Awareness of normal aging processes.
2. Understanding atypical age-related issues.
3. Understanding of continuity v. discontinuity theories, multi-directionality, multidimensional aspects and the importance of context in aging research.
4. Awareness of ageist attitudes and beliefs and ways to counteract negative stereotypes.
5. The ability to apply knowledge of aging research and theory to current social issues as they apply to the individual, such as the economics of aging and advances in medicine and health care.
6. Knowledge of existing programs and social structures addressing the needs of aging adults.
7. Ability to conduct aging research and find reliable resources related to aging.
8. Ability to apply course concepts in working with the aging population.
9. Ability to apply course concepts in a plan for one’s own future.
10. Critical thinking abilities to evaluate each of the above