Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Hopes and Fears for Later Adulthood: A Comparative Study of Two Immigrant Groups in the US

Dr Jasmin Tahmaseb McConatha, Paul Stoller.

Life expectancy has increased dramatically over the past several decades. This increase has triggered a related growth in the number of older men and women. Cultural differences exist in the lives of older men and women around the world. Economic factors, availability of health care, family and kinship structures, and modernization are some of the factors influencing these differences. Modernization theory (Cowgill, 1986) has suggested that a systematic relationship exists between aging and modernization. According to this theory, people in less technologically advanced societies tend to yield more economic and social power than older adults in less industrialized countries, although they are also considered "old" at a younger age than men and women in more technologically developed countries (Cowgill, 1986). Studies have indicated that later adulthood can be a healthy, productive, happy and satisfying time of life, however ageism or prejudice and discrimination against older adults can lead to fear and concern about the aging process, especially for women. Women are often devalued as they age, they also tend to be considered "old" at a younger age than men. This paper presentation focuses on a comparative analysis of the hopes, fears, and anxieties regarding later adulthood experienced by immigrants to the US. Forty two West African and Middle Eastern middle aged men and women were interviewed regarding their plans, hopes and concerns for their later life experiences. Their responses are discussed in relation to cultural values regarding aging.


Dr Jasmin Tahmaseb McConatha  (United States)
Professor of Psychology
Department of Psychology
West Chester University

Paul Stoller  (United States)

Department of Anthropology
West Chester University

  • Hopes and fears about aging,
  • Ageism
  • Later life

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)