This project investigates how socio-environmental conditions affect the psychological functioning of the elderly. It tests hypotheses about how, as one grows older, social-structurally determined environmental conditions such as complexity affect cognitive functioning, autonomous self-directed orientations and one's feelings about oneself and one's circumstances, as well as mental and physical health. The data come from a three wave longitudinal survey based on a representative sample of American working men and their wives. The survey waves took place in 1964, 1974 and 1994. This year using data based on the 1994 third wave interviews, we tested whether the earlier findings based on the 1964 and 1974 interviews that self-directed occupational conditions increase intellectual functioning and self-directed orientations hold when the respondents are twenty years older. The results confirmed that even late in life self-directedness of work continues to affect intellectual functioning and self-directedness of orientation. These psychological characteristics, in turn, affect social-structural position in ways that increase disparities between advantaged and disadvantaged. From a sociological perspective, the findings suggest that the occupational self-directedness of a society's workers may affect its social norms, values and modes of production.
|Caplan, Leslie J; Schooler, Carmi (2003) The roles of fatalism, self-confidence, and intellectual resources in the disablement process in older adults. Psychol Aging 18:551-61|
|Schooler, C; Mulatu, M S (2001) The reciprocal effects of leisure time activities and intellectual functioning in older people: a longitudinal analysis. Psychol Aging 16:466-82|
|Schooler, C; Mulatu, M S; Oates, G (1999) The continuing effects of substantively complex work on the intellectual functioning of older workers. Psychol Aging 14:483-506|
|Mulatu, M S; Schooler, C (1999) Longitudinal effects of occupational, psychological, and social background characteristics on health of older workers. Ann N Y Acad Sci 896:406-8|