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Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $99.99

528 pp.
18 figures; 12 tables; 15 photos, 7.5" x 9.25"


Copyright Year:

Imprint: OUP Canada

Aging as a Social Process

Eighth Edition

Andrew V. Wister

Now in its eighth edition, Aging as a Social Process continues to show students that human aging is more than just a matter of biology-it is also a complex social process. Drawing on a wide variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives and with a multidisciplinary approach, Aging as a Social Process sheds light on the individual and societal dimensions of aging. This edition features data from the 2021 Census, the latest research in the field, current research and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, coverage of aging and mental health, older adult marginalization, technology, and intersectionality. Aging as a Social Process offers students a thoroughly current and comprehensive introduction to the sociological study of aging in Canada.

Readership : Suitable for sociology of aging, introduction to gerontology, or women and aging courses offered at the second- or third-year at universities and some colleges.

Timeline: Developments in Social Gerontology since 1940 That Have Had a Major Impact on Canadian Research, Policy, and Practice
PART I Interweaving Individual and Population Aging
1. Aging as a Social Process
1.1 Introduction: Challenges and Opportunities Within an Aging World
1.2 Population Aging: Adding Years to Life
1.3 Individual Aging: Adding Life to Years
1.4 Interacting Aging Processes
1.5 The Social World of Aging
1.6 Stereotypes and Their Influence on Individuals and Society
1.7 The Field of Gerontology Continues to Mature
1.8 Three Life-Course Conceptual Dimensions to Understanding Aging
1.9 Critical Issues and Challenges for an Aging Society
1.10 Summary
Key Facts
For Reflection, Debate, or Action
2. Historical and Cultural Diversity of Aging
2.1 Introduction: Diversity in Aging across Time, Place, and Culture
2.2 Aging in Canada's Multicultural Society
2.3 The Multiple Dimensions and Meanings of Culture
2.4 Historical and Comparative Approaches to Understanding Aging Processes
2.5 An Intersectionality Lens to Cultural Experiences and Identity
2.6 Postcolonial and Indigenous Theories to Understand Cultural History
2.7 The Modernization Hypothesis and the Changing Status of Older People
2.8 Aging in Pre-industrial Societies
2.9 Diversity of Aging during Periods of 'Modernization'
2.10 Aging in Diverse Cultures and Subcultures
2.11 Summary
Key Facts
For Reflection, Debate, or Action
3. Integrating Physical, Psychological, and Social Change across the Life Course
3.1 Introduction: The Multidimensionality of Aging Processes
3.2 Aging, Physical Structure, and the Physiological Systems
3.3 Aging and the Motor and Sensory Systems
3.4 Aging and Cognitive Processes
3.5 Personality Processes and Aging
3.6 Cognitive Vitality among the Very Old
3.7 Summary
Key Facts
For Reflection, Debate, or Action
4. Population Aging: A Demographic and Geographic Perspective
4.1 Introduction: Aging Populations in Context
4.2 The Study of Demography
4.3 Global Demographic and Epidemiological Transitions
4.4 Demographic Variations among Generations and Age Cohorts
4.5 Demography Is Not Destiny: The Misuse of Demographic Statistics
4.6 The Demography of Aging
4.7 An Expanding Older Population
4.8 The Significance of Demographic Indices
4.9 Geographic Distribution of the Aging Population
4.10 Summary
Key Facts
For Reflection, Debate, or Action
PART II The Social, Environmental, and Health Contexts of Aging
5. Theories and Selected Research Approaches in Explaining and Understanding Aging Phenomena
5.1 Introduction: Seeking Knowledge and Understanding
5.2 The Goals of Scholarly Research
5.3 Developing Knowledge: Multiplicity in Perspectives and Theories
5.4 Research Methods Applied to Aging and the Aged: The Search for Answers
5.5 Methodological Issues in Aging Research
5.6 Summary
For Reflection, Debate, or Action
6. Social Structures, Social Inequality, and the Life Course
6.1 Introduction: The Bigger Picture to Aging
6.2 Social Structures and Aging
6.3 Age Structures and the Life Course
6.4 Age Structures and Social Change
6.5 Summary
Key Facts
For Reflection, Debate, or Action
7. Aging, Health Status, and Health Care Transitions in a Pandemic Context
7.1 Introduction: Defining Health
7.2 Shifting Models of Health and Health Care
7.3 Is the Older Population Healthier over Time?
7.4 Increasing Longevity and Centenarians
7.5 Dimensions of Health and Illness
7.6 Mental Health
7.7 Canada's Health Care System and Population Aging
7.8 Summary
Key Facts
For Reflection, Debate, or Action
8. The Lived Environment: Community, Housing, and Place
8.1 Introduction: Aging in the Best Place
8.2 The Multiple Meanings of Community
8.3 An Ecological Model of Aging: Person-Environment Interaction
8.4 Coping with the Environment: Challenges and Adaptations
8.5 Living Arrangements in Later Life
8.6 Housing Alternatives in Later Life
8.7 Changing Places: Local Moves and Migration in Later Life
8.8 Summary
Key Facts
For Reflection, Debate, or Action
PART III Aging, Social Institutions, and Public Policy
9. Family Ties, Relationships, and Transitions
9.1 Introduction: What Is Family?
9.2 The Concept of Family
9.3 Changing Family and Kinship Structures
9.4 Factors Influencing Family Relationships
9.5 Family Ties and Relationships
9.6 Life Transitions in a Family Context
9.7 Summary
Key Facts
For Reflection, Debate, or Action
10. Later Life Work, Retirement, and Economic Security
10.1 Introduction: The Relevance of Life Course Work and Retirement
10.2 Older Workers in the Pre-retirement Years
10.3 The Process of Retirement
10.4 Economic Security in Later Life
10.5 Summary
Key Facts
For Reflection, Debate, or Action
11. Social Participation, Social Connectedness, and Leisure among Older Persons
11.1 Introduction: Aging along the Spectrum of Isolation to Engagement
11.2 Social Networks over the Life Course
11.3 Loneliness and Social Isolation in Later Life: Myth or Fact?
11.4 Social Isolation and Loneliness during the COVID-19 Pandemic
11.5 Social Participation in Later Life
11.6 Asocial Behaviour: Problem Gambling
11.7 Leisure and Aging: Conceptual and Methodological Issues
11.8 Summary
Key Facts
For Reflection, Debate, or Action
12. End of the Life Course: Social Support, Public Policy, and Dying Well
12.1 Introduction: What Makes a Caring Aging Society?
12.2 Social Support and Caregiving in an Aging Society
12.3 Informal Social Support
12.4 Formal Social Support
12.5 Social Intervention Strategies and Issues
12.6 End of the Life Course: Dying Well, with Support and Dignity
12.7 Public Policy for an Aging Population
12.8 Summary
Key Facts
For Reflection, Debate, or Action
Appendix: Study Resources

Instructor Resources:
Test Bank & Test Bank (QTI)
PowerPoint Slides

Andrew V. Wister is the Director of the Gerontology Research Centre and Professor in the Department of Gerontology at Simon Fraser University. Dr. Wister is also the former Chair of the National Seniors Council of Canada. Andrew has written several important articles on gerontology in Canada, and worked in conjunction with Barry McPherson on the sixth edition ofAging as a Social Process.

Sociological Perspectives on Aging - Laura Funk
Making Sense in the Social Sciences - Margot Northey, Lorne Tepperman and Patrizia Albanese

Special Features

  • Current Canadian content-including data from the 2021 Census and other significant data, such as the Population Reference Bureau, Canadian Institute for Health Survey, Public Health Agency of Canada, as it makes material relevant to students' lives.
  • Balance of theory and methods help students develop the capacity to think about aging both critically and practically.
  • Updates to content includes information on effect of COVID-19 pandemic; mental health; marginalization; gender and sexuality; race, ethnicity, and Indigenous issues; technology; and intersectionality, offering students insight into age-related concerns many individuals and communities face every day.
  • Thought-provoking pedagogical tools-including learning objectives and key facts; questions for reflection, action, and debate; and updated end-of-chapter multimedia resources lists-providing students with a full set of learning tools and critical thinking questions to succeed.
  • Updated "Highlight" boxes provide further information and real-world examples from Canada and around the globe to help students make connections between key issues and their everyday lives.
  • Timeline of historical developments in social gerontology provides an overview of events that have had a major impact on Canadian research, policy, and practice in this field.
  • Updated online resources-including PowerPoint slides, test bank, and flash cards-offer support to enhance the teaching and learning experiences.