It is a time when parents are overworked, stressed, and frequently sleep-deprived for prolonged periods of time. Those are all significant potential stressors that contribute to depression; naturally, where a single parent faces those stressors and obligations alone, the magnitude of stress would be expected to increase proportionately.
Furthermore, single parenthood is probably directly associated with higher instances of loneliness and emotional emptiness as compared with parenthood within a stable nuclear family environment with a supportive spouse. Indeed, being single late into adulthood (especially for women) is a likely source of anxiety and depression. The prospect of finding a partner is greatly reduced by virtue of single parenthood, both as a practical matter having to do with time management and energy as well as in terms of motherhood being a potential barrier to the interest of many prospective partners. Finally, all of the available research (Brugha, Sharp, & Cooper, 1998; Loxton, Mooney, & Young, 2006) strongly suggests that single motherhood is also associated with financial hardship, which is also independently associated with depression in general.
Cognitive ability commonly declines in old age. Discuss the environmental and biological factors that have positive and negative influences on cognitive aging.
In general, both mental activity (Anstey, 1999) and physical activity (Van Gelder, Tijhuis, Kalmijn, et al., 2004) are empirically associated with reduced cognitive decline in old age. More specifically, adults who remain mentally active in ways that involve cognitive abilities such as linguistic recall, social conversation, reading, and problem solving tend to retain better cognitive abilities than similarly-aged individuals who do not continue to use their mental faculties as much in their advanced years (Anstey, 1999). Likewise, elderly individuals who remain physically active in old age also retain batter cognitive functions (as well as physical abilities) as compared with individuals who do not remain physically active in old age (Van Gelder, Tijhuis, Kalmijn, et al., 2004).
Naturally, there biological (i.e. hereditary) factors involved as well and that is illustrated inter-generationally within families (Van Gelder, Tijhuis, Kalmijn, et al., 2004). However, one of the most interesting aspects of the relationship between continued mental and physical activity in old age and comparative rates of cognitive decline is that it is the maintenance or reduction in previous levels (in both cases) that is more important than absolute levels of activity prior to old age (Anstey, 1999; Van Gelder, Tijhuis, Kalmijn, et al., 2004). Specifically, in that regard, elderly individuals who were never particularly inclined toward mental challenges or who were never particularly physically active do not exhibit significant differences in cognitive decline as a function of low levels of those activities, respectively. However, in both cases, individuals who were previously frequently engaged in mental challenges or in physical activity (respectively) exhibit the largest degree of difference in cognitive decline as compared with similarly active individuals who maintained their prior levels of activity (whether mental of physical) as they aged (Anstey, 1999; Van Gelder, Tijhuis, Kalmijn, et al., 2004). Naturally, the implications are that irrespective of how mentally and physically active the individual was prior to old age, it is crucial that they avoid decreasing their activity level as much as possible to minimize cognitive decline as a function of the aging process.
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