ERIC Number: ED210715
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Jul
Reference Count: 0
An Ecological Approach to Theories of Aging.
A case study of the communications of a 79-year-old woman was conducted to test an ecological model of communication. The ecological model is concerned with the conditions to which the aged person adapts by using communication, what that communication entails, and the criteria by which the success of the adaptive communication process may be evaluated. Information on earlier incidents in the subject's life was obtained through questioning and discussion during participant observation. It was found that the subject's communication with her cats was the condition that had kept her active and interested in survival. On the micro or leisure level, the subject's participation with a conversational bridge club, which over the years had diminished and then disbanded because of death and disability, provided an example of the disengagement from social activities that the elderly often experience. On the meso level, family interaction was a form of communication providing continuity in the subject's life. She felt needed and loved by the three generations of her family. The examples of interaction for the activity, disengagement, and continuity theories of aging may be applied to some level of the ecological model: pets served as significant others, the bridge club as an organization mechanism, and the interaction with grandchildren as a communication process contributing to survival. (HOD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Meeting of the Speech Communication Association Summer Conference on Communication and Gerontology (Edwardsville, IL, July 22-24, 1981).