Difficulties That Elderly People Encounter and Their Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Difficulties that Elderly People Encounter and Their Life Satisfaction," which was published within the scholarly journal Social Behavior and Personality in 2008, social scientists Kasim Karatas and Veli Duyan analyze the level of life satisfaction experienced by elderly residents of the Ankara region of Turkey, while also exploring the various factors which may negatively influence one's life satisfaction. According to the authors, "the purpose of this study was to examine the sociodemographic characteristics of elderly people and the effects that difficulties they encounter in daily life have on their life satisfaction" (2008), with the dually overriding objectives of determining a causal relationship between life satisfaction and either sociodemographic characteristics or hardships experienced. Relying on the tried and true methodology of administering a detailed survey and questionnaire combination, in this case to a sample of 109 females and 76 males between the ages of 60 and 98 living in the Kocatepe Solidarity Center for Elderly People, Karatas and Duyan apply SPSS statistical analysis to determine the presence of meaningful correlations between the variables. The divergence between sociodemographic factors, which are largely defined by the research team as inherited traits such as susceptibility to disease, migration experience, income bracket, and urban vs. rural habitation, and the externality of difficulties encountered during the course of one's life, including institutionalization in a group home, the death of a child, or premature retirement due to injury, is especially intriguing when this study is considered from the context of the wider "nature vs. nurture" debate.

Broader Implications of the Study

For nearly the entirety of human civilization thinkers and philosophers have struggled to determine the most elusive aspects of identity, and balancing the essence of human nature against the effects of environmental influence eventually formed the foundation of the ongoing debate concerning nature vs. nurture. The unique confluence of factors that combine to form the personality traits, behavioral patterns, and ethical boundaries exhibited by every human being has spawned two distinctly divergent theories. Proponents of the "nature" point-of-view assert a person's physical appearance, mental acumen, moral compass, and adaptive abilities are wholly derived from genetic predisposition and inherited traits. According to this viewpoint, the actions we take today are inherently linked to those of our ancestral predecessors, to such a degree that is nearly impossible to resist the inexorable pull of genetic predilection. This perception has led many to examine cultural differences from a genetic perspective, and indeed, "it does seem baffling that the tiny island nation of Jamaica with a population reaching barely 2.8 million can consistently produce world-beating sprinters, while the whole of Europe can hardly register more than a handful of athletes in the top 100" (Kelland, 2012). The study conducted by Karatas and Duyan attempts to examine the role of "nature" on personality from the perspective of elderly individuals, by determining the extent to which sociodemographic traits -- most of which are largely passed down through generations of familial lineage -- affect life satisfaction within elderly populations.

Conversely, advocates of the "nurture" perspective believe that people are essentially blank slates, devoid of any preset…

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