Aging and Behavioral Medicine

A Triaxial Model
  • David I. Mostofsky
Part of the The Springer Series in Adult Development and Aging book series (SSAD)


Research programs in gerontology theory and clinical geriatrics have approached problems of aging and mental health either as separate areas of inquiry that beg for integration and conciliation, or as coincident outcomes attributable to both biological and psychosocial changes. The former approach would have us search for causes that give rise to the unique physical and psychological characteristics associated with old age, and would have us focus largely on impairments and deficits. It would also try to bring to bear the personality and intrapsychic forces that, together with the social and cultural setting of the specific individual, could account for the individual differences that are noted in the effectiveness with which one confronts old age and is often able to exert countercontrolling influence. But the causal links from biology to mental health are less than compelling. The alterations in perceptions, emotional lability, and reality orientation are not adequately explained by neurotransmitter chemistry. Mental health concerns draw attention to conditions of “desertion, disability, dependency, and death” (Herman, 1988, p. 110) as added negative and unavoidable accompaniments to the fate of living long. This approach would appear to offer the interested investigator the choice of investing in either elucidating basic mechanisms of aging or of delineating psychosocial processes that may provide a necessary condition for the development of mental health pathologies.


Mental Health Behavioral Medicine Mental Health Concern Clinical Geriatrics Psychosocial Process 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • David I. Mostofsky
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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