dominican logo top

Adult Development and Aging

Psychology 3121 - Adult Development and Aging

Office Hours: T 11-12/W 1:15-2:15/TH 11-12


1.  Schaie and Willis (2001) Adult Development and Aging. (5th Edition)
2.  Levinson, D. (1978/1986) Seasons of a Man's Life.
4.  Frankl, V. Man's Search for Meaning.
5.  Tan, A. Joy Luck Club.
6.  Selected Handouts and Reserve Reading



Jan. 23 Administration, Introductions, Epidemiology of Aging

S & W: Chapter 1 and Chapter 5 (skim)


Jan. 25 The Transition to Adulthood


S & W: Chapter 2

Reserve: Handbook Of Psychology and Aging. Chapt. 4 (70-102)


Jan. 30 Love and Work: Partner Choice

S & W: Chapter 7
Levinson Chapter 1 and 2


Feb. 1 Love and Work: Career Choice

S & W: Chapter 8


Feb. 6 Special Issues in Adult Female Development

S & W: Chapter 7


Feb. 8 Special Issues in Adult Female Development Continued

DUE: Name of Interviewee To Be Handed In to LeeAnn


Feb. 13 Special Issues in Male Adult Development


Feb. 15 Special Issues in Male Adult Development Continued


Feb. 20 Thirty-Something

S & W: Chapter 3
Levinson Chapter 3


Feb. 22 Parenting Across the Lifespan

S & W: Chapter 6


Feb. 27 Divorce


S & W: Chapter 6


DUE: Everyone should view the Film: Shoot the Moon (Available at most video stores)


March. 1 Divorce Continued


March 6 Friendship Across the Lifespan

Begin Reading: The Joy Luck Club

DUE: Shoot The Moon Reaction Paper


March 8 Cross Cultural Issues in Aging

Example: Refugees and Immigration

Reserve: Handbook of Psychology and Aging. Chapt. 14, Pgs. 302-326

Reserve: Handbook of Aging and the Social Science., Chapt. 5, Pgs 117-129





March 20 Mid-Life Crisis (Yes or No?)
Levinson Chapter 4

In Class Film: For Better or For Worse

DUE: Joy Luck Club - Reaction Paper




March 27 The Development of Spirituality

Frankl, Part 1 and Postscript




April 3 Sexuality Across the Lifespan

S & W: Chapter 7


April 5 Late Adulthood

S & W: Chapter 4


April 10 Biological and Cognitive Development Across the Lifespan


S & W: Chapter 11 and 13

Film: Alzheimer Disease


April 12 Guest Speaker: On the Field of Gerontology

DUE: Man's Search For Meaning Reaction Paper


April 17 Aging and Society

Mental Disorders

S & W: Chapter 14


April 19 The End of Life: Death and Dying

S & W: Chapter 15


April 24 Death and Dying Continued


April 26 Oral Presentations Begin

DUE: Written Case Review


May 3 During the Final Exam Time - Oral Presentations Continue



TOPIC % of Grade Due Date
Reaction Paper: Shoot the Moon 10 March 6
Reaction Paper:  Joy Luck Club 10 March 20
Reaction Paper: Man's Search for Meaning 10 April 12
Midterm Exam 30 March 22
Attendance and Participation 10 Every Class
Case Review: 30 / 15 Oral and 15 Written April 26


Reaction papers must be TYPED, double-spaced and are NO longer than 3 pages (2 pages is ideal). They reflect your ideas on the topic and demonstrate integration with the class readings, discussion, speakers, and films. They are not just your "feeling" reactions, yet they integrate your emotional response with a thoughtful, scholarly approach to a particular topic. You do not need to do further research to write these papers. The FOCUS is on adult development and not on the storyline.


The case review is a major portion of the grade in this class. You will intensively interview an individual over the age of 60 about their life experiences. (You are not allowed to interview your own parents. If you choose to do one of your grandparents, consider that it may be difficult for you to ask certain questions.) The class will work together on formulating some guideline questions. The interview data/life story will then be analyzed using all that you have gleaned from this course. You may choose to do further research, if you decide that it would enhance your case review (i.e. the individual is a Holocaust survivor), but further research is not required.

The finished product is divided into two parts: an oral presentation and a written paper. You will visually present your analysis to the class. You may be as creative as you want with this visual vehicle: using color, pictures, mementos, charts, timelines etc. Secondly, you will write up your analysis, demonstrating integration of the course content.



I believe that formal teaching is a rare opportunity. My goal for this course is to introduce you to what is undoubtedly an enormous area of study. The process of teaching is reducing years of potential research and reading into one sixteen week experience where you leave having learned something new, something substantial, with a thirst to know more. The learning process is fluid and as such the syllabus may change. These are my classroom policies and procedures.


Success in this course can be achieved by taking responsibility for your own learning. This means being a serious student (attend class, read, reflect, research, ask questions and see the results). In hours this means approximately four to six hours a week on this course. Take advantage of my office hours or make an appointment to see me if anything is unclear.


Grading: An A is an outstanding, superior, and nearly flawless paper or test

A B is a very good, of fine quality, and exceeds minimum expectations

A C is average and represents satisfactory work

A D is below course expectations and represents a significant problem in one's work

An F is, well, failing and represents and overall poor performance in class assignments and usually indicates a lack of attendance, poor scheduling, or little effort


I'll attempt to assign grades fairly and without bias. I do not enjoy being pressured into giving A grades. I freely give A's when deserved.


Papers: All Papers must be typed, double-spaced, with a 12 point easily readable font type, have one inch margins, a title page with all necessary information, and a staple. A and B papers have few, if any, spelling or grammar errors. I expect complete referencing when the assignment requires it (e.g. research papers) and prefer that papers not be in plastic folders. Also, if you are a PSY, NURSING, or OT major APA format is expected in all research-type papers.


Late Papers: I expect that papers will be turned in on time. I will accept late papers, although late papers will be downgraded and will be reduced and additional letter grade for each week that they are late. Late papers will not be accepted after the third day of Finals week - no exceptions!


Make-up Exams: Make-up exams will be given only in emergency situations. If you must miss an exam, contact me ASAP to explain the reason and to discuss the possibility of a make-up exam.


Incompletes: I only use the incomplete system for personal tragedies. I will not accept procrastination as an excuse.


Study Groups: I highly recommend that students form study groups.

It is best to meet two weeks before every test. Begin by reviewing class notes and then discuss how the textbook/article reading supports what has been presented in class. At the second meeting review the "Test Study Guide Handout" and attempt to answer every item. Or divide the items between group members before the second meeting and then share answers - taking notes as each member "teaches" you about the potential test item.

Reward yourself when the session is completed...

Please see the Academic Honesty Policy in the Dominican University catalogue. I follow this policy and will not tolerate plagiarism. Plagiarism is taking the work of another person and passing it off as one’s own. The way to avoid plagiarism is to use quotes and/or page references. I will not pass a student who cheats.


Research Papers are just that: RESEARCH. This means that you will consult at least four books, plus four articles, plus four WEB pages and other resources while searching for information on your topic. Doing less than this results in a lower grade on a research paper. Do not rely on the Internet alone! Effective research takes time and planning. APA referencing style is followed.


Students with special needs: You know who you are. I do not. If I need to assist you in a special way let me know early in the semester. I will do my best to make my classroom conducive to your learning.


Classroom Guidelines: Arrive on time. Try not to leave early


No eating during class time.


Monitor your own "air time". If you tend to be silent - speak. If you tend to share a lot - understand that no one appreciates a student who uses a psychology class for personal "therapy" or personal story-telling.


Respect the academic environment: listen to others, learn from others, ask good questions, be prepared...GET INVOLVED in the class and in your own learning. This is essential for the class to be a success for all of us.


Returning Papers and Tests: My personal rule of thumb is one week for tests and two weeks for papers. I attempt to honor this policy – sometimes I fall short. I will let you know if this happens. Please try not to ask…


Missed Classes: You do not have to notify me if you miss one class. However, please leave me a message if you miss multiple classes in a row due to a serious illness or family emergency.


A Final perspective: I borrowed this from M. Nielsen who borrowed it from someone else…

If we could, at this time, shrink the earth’s population to a Village of precisely 100 people, with all existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look like this:

  • The Village would be made up of 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from North and South America, and 8 Africans
  • 70 would be non-white; 30 white
  • 70 would be non-Christian; 30 Christian
  • 6 people would control 50% of the entire wealth, and all 6 of them would be from the United States
  • 70 would be unable to read
  • 50 would suffer from malnutrition
  • 80 would live in substandard housing
  • 1 would have a University education

As you can see, being in University is a rare privilege. Teaching you is a rare privilege. Let us both make good use of this opportunity. NOW LET US LEARN TOGETHER.


Common Sites & Pages


Faculty & Staff