Adult Development and Aging. Cavenaugh J, Belmont, Calif, Wadsworth, 1990, 587 pages, $43.25, hardback.
This textbook was written for upper-level college students to provide a multidisciplinary view of adult development with an emphasis on research bases and practice applications in the field of aging. It is an unusual book in that its content and format pique the interest and involvement of the reader. Content provides a unique blend of clinical reality with theoretical constructs and research findings. The double column format includes a number of tables, figures, and pictures, as well as boxed topics to enliven reading.
Chapter topics range from a demographic view of the aging situation and theoretical models of aging to exploration of aging processes and the environmental milieu within which aging occurs. A closing chapter deals with the difficult topics of death and dying in a practical and concrete manner. Some final thoughts suggest that the 21st century may deal with three major issues: better gerontological research, critical health care and health-care system problems, and a need for developing more productive roles for elders.
Each chapter includes summaries, glossaries, and suggested additional readings. An extensive list of references is included at the close of the book, along with an author and subject index. A teaching resource manual is also available for instructors.
The text might have been improved with the addition of learning objectives and selected study questions for students. Content pertaining to middle-age roles and conflicts, male-female contrasts, family relationships, and moral development is not present or is not developed to a great extent. The section on community and institutions fails to reflect the numerous alternatives that are available to elders in terms of housing, health, social support, and nutrition. Overall, it is a helpful book and would likely be popular with students because of its readability and combination of materials.