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Social Roles and Social Participation

Social Roles and Social Participation: Research Instruments in Social Gerontology, Volume 2

David J. Mangen
Warren A. Peterson
Toshi Kii
Robert Sanders
Copyright Date: 1982
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 576
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  • Book Info
    Social Roles and Social Participation
    Book Description:

    Research Instruments in Social Gerontology, Volume 2: Social Roles and Social Participation was first published in 1982. The increasing number of older people in the United States has served to focus attention upon the processes of aging and the effectiveness of social programs for the elderly. In order to plan effective programs, accurate social measures are necessary. Now, more than ever before, researchers need conceptually explicit instruments designed to assess individual and social behaviors, attitudes, and traits in the elderly population. This three-volume work is designed to serve the needs of researchers, evaluators, and clinicians in assessing the instruments used in the field of aging. The measures reviewed in Volume 1 focus on the cognitive reactions of older people to aging and on the assessments of aging made by people who are not yet old. This volume also contains the series introduction which explains the methods used for evaluating the instruments and assesses the status of gerontological measurement today. Each chapter is devoted to instruments in a particular subject area such as intellectual functioning, personality, self-esteem, and ethnic group identification. Volume 2 focuses on the range of social roles filled by older people. Specific topics include the family, work and retirement, religion, and friendships. Volume 3 deals with demography, social policy, and health concerns. Most chapters are composed of three parts. First, there is a concise narrative review of the major theoretical concerns and measurement strategies within that particular research domain. The second part is a collection of abstracts, each of which presents a conceptual definition and a description of a specific instrument together with data about samples, reliability, validity, scaling properties, and correlations with age. Whenever possible the instruments themselves constitute the third part of the chapter. Research Instruments in Social Gerontology will be helpful as a source for appropriate instruments, as a guide to developing new measures, and as a benchmark in the field -- to reduce duplication of previous work.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5523-6
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
    David J. Mangen and Warren A. Peterson
  4. How to Use These Volumes
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Contributors to Volume 2
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. Chapter 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-8)
    David ]. Mangen

    Research instruments can be found in a surprisingly large number of publications in every area of social science, and the field of aging is no different than any other. Since many journal articles, books, dissertations, and unpublished manuscripts contain empirical instruments, the task of reviewing the measurement literature can be very difficult. Few scholars have access to all of the relevant literature, and the often limited amounts of time available during funded research sometimes preclude the exchange of information necessary for developing cumulative research strategies. For such reasons researchers often devise their own instruments, and knowledge about empirical measures is...

  7. Chapter 2 Social Participation Roles
    (pp. 9-42)
    Marshall ]. Graney

    Many research instruments have been developed for measuring social participation activity, social roles, and social integration. The convenient termsocial participationcan be used to represent all three of these research interests. Candidates for inclusion in this review of the currently available instruments were instruments that attempt to measure social participation in some general sense: in practice, such measures usually involve collecting subscores on two or more items, which are then combined in some way to yield a score that is said to be representative of an individual’s placement on a more general scale of social participation. The subscale items...

  8. Chapter 3 Dyadic Relations
    (pp. 43-114)
    David ]. Mangen

    The importance of family in the social lives of older persons is reflected in the amount of research that examines the family roles of the aged. Broad-ranging reviews of the gerontological literature usually include sections devoted to the family lives of older people (e.g., Tibbitts and Donahue, 1962; Rose and Peterson, 1965; Riley and Foner, 1968; Troll, 1971; Binstock and Ghanas, 1976). Despite this apparent interest, most of the research has focused on parent-child relations or the interface of older persons with their broader kinship networks; less work has examined the dyadic relations of older couples.

    This chapter reviews those...

  9. Chapter 4 Parent-Child Relations
    (pp. 115-186)
    Vern L. Bengtson and Sandi S. Schrader

    Assessment of family relations has been a part of most surveys examining the social aspects of aging. For many older individuals, family roles and participation constitute an important arena of social life. In examining the correlates of personal adjustment in old age, for example, many studies have suggested that family integration may be an important variable. Unfortunately, the conceptual analysis of family interaction in old age remains underdeveloped. Furthermore, the measures employed to describe that interaction have been somewhat informal, and, in many cases, they are idiosyncratic from one study to another.

    At the construct level, many surveys have not...

  10. Chapter 5 Kinship Relations
    (pp. 187-230)
    Charles H. Mindel

    For elderly individuals the nature and quality of their relationships with kin are a crucial aspect of life. Assessing how well an elderly individual is integrated into his or her family and kinship system is essential to gaining an understanding of the quality of life and the well-being of that elderly person. The study of kinship relations (i.e., the investigation of the nature and organization of the relationships of individuals to their socially defined relatives) has a fairly long history in American sociology and an even longer one in anthropology. In American sociology, this field of interest has long been...

  11. Chapter 6 Work and Retirement
    (pp. 231-280)
    Edward A. Powers

    One of the more extensive areas of research in social gerontology is that of work and retirement. Walther (1976) recently identified almost 200 studies funded by the federal government during the 10-year period between 1965 and 1976, and the research continues at a phenomenal rate. The range of concerns is extensive: social insurance and public assistance, social and financial policy, employment and earning patterns, work performance, pensions and personnel policies, reeducation and rehabilitation, pre- and postretirement education, and attitudes and adjustment to work and retirement. (For a review of some of this literature, see Donahue, Orbach, and Pollak, 1960; Friedmann...

  12. Chapter 7 Socioeconomic Status and Poverty
    (pp. 281-342)
    Angela M. O’Rand

    Although socioeconomic status is probably the most widely used variable across studies in social gerontology, its measurement and application have been inconsistent and, in some cases, perhaps inappropriate for the study of aging and aged populations. Critics of past uses and abuses of socioeconomic status in research have called for more valid measures of this variable for use with the aged that would capture the meaning of the concept (Bloom, 1972). And they have called for new approaches that would take into account the multidimensional aspects of socioeconomic status, i.e., income, wealth, occupational prestige, educational level, community reputation, perceived income...

  13. Chapter 8 Religiosity
    (pp. 343-388)
    Barbara Pittard Payne

    One of the stereotypes about the elderly is that they are more religious than others in the population and that people turn to religion as they age (Orbach, 1961). The historical basis for this stereotype can be traced to Starbuck, the pioneer in the psychology of religion, who reported in 1911 that religious faith and belief in God grow in importance as the years advance (Payne, 1980). Yet, research on this stereotype is limited. In fact, religion and aging as an area of theoretical and empirical research in social gerontology is so underresearched that Heenan (1968) described it as the...

  14. Chapter 9 Friends, Neighbors, and Confidants
    (pp. 389-444)
    George R. Peters

    Despite the recognition of the important part friends, neighbors, and confidants play in the lives of many older people (Lowenthal, 1968), comparatively few studies on these important relationships exist. As a consequence, findings on the friendships of older people are scattered, frequently lack rigorously developed conceptual frameworks, and are often only adjunctive considerations to the interests of the researchers. Riley (1968) reinforced this conclusion when she noted that suggestive insights are afforded by data of national scope and by analyses of selected samples but that beyond several identified tendencies our knowledge of friendship and neighboring in old-age is meager.


  15. Chapter 10 Voluntary Associations
    (pp. 445-476)
    C. Neil Bull

    Participation in voluntary associations has been shown to play a major role in most societies. Such organizations have been shown to be important agents in supporting normative order (Babchuk and Edwards, 1965), integrating people into a community (Hausknecht, 1962), improving the quality of community services (Young and Larson, 1965), providing leisure-time activities (Godbey and Parker, 1976), providing for volunteer roles (Smith, 1973), and developing political resources (Cutler and Mimms, 1977). It is, therefore, important to know who participates in voluntary associations and why there is differential participation by certain segments of the population. Investigations of the rates of participation of...

  16. Chapter 11 Leisure Activities
    (pp. 477-538)
    C. Neil Bull

    Engaging in leisure implies performing an activity for its own sake, i.e., performing it because of its intrinsic value for the individual. The concept of leisure encompasses a multitude of possible activities, since what is rewarding to one person may be viewed by another with apathy or aversion. Thus, the question of leisure inherently involves a consideration of individual differences in the preferred modes of behavior.

    Given the vast array of possible leisure activities, it is not surprising that leisure is often vaguely defined. Typically, leisure is studied as a residual phenomenon, i.e., time that is “free” from work and...

  17. Indexes
    (pp. 539-558)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 559-559)