Psychology of Adulthood and Aging

Purpose: One of the reasons to study adult development is to bring about positive development to foster mental and physical well-being.  Social policies often have a huge impact on the development of older Americans.  Elected officials and voters at large make public policy decisions that effect those in late adulthood, and yet they often use little empirically supported information to make these decisions. For example, the age at which one can start receiving Social Security benefits is largely determined by law.  This assignment will give you experience in using data to make public policy decisions to bring about positive change in the lives of older adults.

Task: First gain some background information on key trends occurring in the US that will impact the lives of older Americans by reading Three Trends Shaping the Politics of Aging in America (Super, 2020).  The article discusses the federal government’s response to these trends.  Identify a trend/problem discussed in the article that you are interested in addressing.  Then do some research to find out more about the problem and potential solutions to the problem.  Make sure that your research involves credible sources; i.e., avoid popular press sources.  After doing your research, propose an evidence-based solution. 

Next, write a well-developed essay in which you answer the following questions.

  1. Introduce your topic. Your introduction should provide a brief, clear purpose of the paper.  The purpose is not to write a paper for this class.  Think about the purpose of the information presented in your paper. Answer the question, “What is your paper about?”  A well-written introduction is clearly stated and focused.
  • Provide a thorough description of the problem that you picked from the assigned article.  Use credible sources to elaborate on the problem.  You may use the article referenced above, but you must have at least one additional source.  (Be sure that you re-write this information in your own words.)  Your description should at least include the following:
    • State the nature of the problem
    • The prevalence of the issue (how common it is)
    • Explain why the problem occurs; i.e., cause
    • Explain who is most likely to experience this problem (This can be demographic variables like race or gender or psychological variables like personality traits or cognitive ability, etc. This answer should be more than older Americans.  Which older Americans are more likely to be affected by this problem?)
    • Explain how this problem influences development and/or mental well-being. 
  • Describe the empirically-based solution to the problem. This means that you have evidence to support the effectiveness of the solution.  Provide only ONE solution.  Your description should at least include the following:
    • Provide a thorough description of your solution. What will be done?  How will it be done?  When will it be done? Where will it be done? Who will be involved?  Note:  If your solution is already being done, you must have your own unique application of this.  What will you do differently?
    • What research exists that leads you to believe that this is a good solution to the problem?  Be sure to use a credible source for this information, and re-write it in your own words.
    • Discuss the feasibility of implementing this solution.  What will be the hardest part about implementing your solution?  Think about cost, logistics, support from the community, etc.
  • Summarize your paper with “take away” points that you want the reader to remember. A well-written conclusion evaluates and relates logically to essential information included in your assignment.  A good conclusion does not include any new information. 

Grading: Exercises are worth 100 points each and are graded based on content, mechanics and grammar, and APA formatting for the in-text citations and reference list.  See the rubric on the last page of this assignment for specific points awarded to each item. 

* Papers containing more than three direct quotes will receive a grade of 0. This means that your entire paper may have no more than three sentences that are copied from a source.  You may have an unlimited number of citations for paraphrased information.

* You MUST have a minimum of two sources for your assignment, but more than likely you will have at least three. In the problem portion of the assignment, you will likely site the Super (2020) article and at least one other source.  Then in the solution part of your paper, you will likely have another source. 

Super, N. (2015). Three trends shaping the politics of aging in America. Public Policy & Aging Report, 30(2), 39 – 45.

Grading Rubric for Social Policy in Late Adulthood

ScoreTotal Points Earned: _______ out of  100 points
_____Introduction  – select all that apply (4 points)
 ___  Introduction includes a well-written statement describing the purpose of the paper (states the problem and solution) (1 – 4)
_____ Background Information on the Problem – select all that apply (48 points)
 ___ At least one credible source other than the original article is used in the background information (3) ___ A thorough description of the problem is included (1 – 9) ____ An explanation of the cause is provided (1 –9) ____ A description of the prevalence is provided (1 – 9) ____A description of specifically who is most likely to be affected by the problem is     provided; more than just older Americans (1 – 9) ____ A description of how this problem influences mental well-being is provided (1 – 9)
_____Solution – to the Problem (44 points)
 ____ A thorough description of the solution is provided (1 – 20) _____  Evidence is presented to support the effectiveness of the solution (1 – 12) ____ A credible source is used to support the effectiveness of the solution (2) ____  There is discussion of the feasibility of the solution; cost, logistics, support (1 -10 )
 Conclusion – (4 points)
 ____  Paper includes a summary statement regarding  the major points made in the paper (1 – 4 )
_____Mechanics (This category is a penalty.)
 ____The paper is organized, & paragraphs flow logically (transitions) but there are some errors in spelling, grammar, or punctuation.  (-4) ____The paper is organized, but paragraphs do not flow logically (few transitions) and/or contain many errors in spelling, grammar, or punctuation. (-6) ____The paper is disorganized with paragraphs that are weakly developed and/or significant errors in spelling, grammar, or punctuation (-10)
_____APA formatting for citations (This category is a penalty)
 ____Paper has both in-text citations and a reference list but done incorrectly (-5 pts ea) ____Paper is missing the in-text citation AND/OR the reference list (-10 pts ea)
_____Late Penalty
 _____ days late * 10 points per day

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