Behavioral gerontology is probably best defined as the application of behavioral principles and procedures to the problems of the elderly and the issues of aging. As such, it is a specialty area in behavior therapy and shares the identifiable characteristics of the parent field, as defined by Kazdin (1975): (1) a focus on current determinants of behavior rather than historical antecedents; (2) an emphasis on overt behavior change as the proper subject matter by which effective treatment is judged; (3) the specification of treatment procedures in objective terms; (4) a reliance upon basic research in psychology as a source of hypotheses about treatment and specific therapeutic techniques; (5) specificity in defining, treating, and measuring target populations. While the roots of behavior therapy are planted in the early learning theories, its contemporary branches have extended into a variety of conceptual models and sophisticated methodologies, including applied behavioral analysis, neo-behaviorism, social learning theory, and cognitive behavior therapy (cf. Eysenck & Martin, 1987; Hersen, Kazdin, & Bellack, 1983; Wilson & Franks, 1982).


Anorexia Nervosa Apply Behavior Analysis Contingent Reinforcement Relaxation Training Demented Patient 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia A. Wisocki
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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