Developmental Psychology: Adulthood & Aging

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
PSYC 3322
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
In this course, students will examine theory and research on age-related changes in adult physiology, sensory and perceptual abilities, cognition, memory, social relationships, social cognition, personality, and mental and physical health. Current changing age-related demographics and their implications will be presented. The course will explore methods and findings within the psychology of aging. Stereotypes and attitudes toward older individuals, as well as their effects, will be discussed. This course will include the growths, declines, benefits, challenges, and strengths of aging.
Course Content
  1. Introduction to aging
    • Definitions of aging.
    • Changing age trends in Canada and globally.
    • Implications of demographic changes.
    • Issues and debates in developmental psychology.
    • Aging as biopsychosocial.
  2. Theoretical shifts from decline models to lifespan models of aging.
  3. Ageism, ableism, and discrimination.
  4. Research methods in developmental psychology and aging.
  5. The role of neuroscience in understanding aging.
  6. Psychological outcomes of biological changes.
  7. Theorizing the causes of age-related change.
  8. Cognitive changes in aging.
  9. Social relationships, attachment, families, and aging.
  10. Self, identity, and personality in aging.
  11. Work, volunteerism, and retirement.
  12. Living arrangements and care.
  13. Elder abuse.
  14. Neurocognitive disorders and mental health in adulthood and aging.
  15. End of life: Death, dying, bereavement, and grief.
Learning Activities

The course will involve a number of instructional methods, such as the following:

  • lectures
  • small group discussions
  • demonstrations
  • presentations
  • audio-visual materials
Means of Assessment

The course evaluation will be in accordance with Douglas College and Psychology Department policies. Evaluations will be based on the course objectives. The specific evaluation criteria will be provided by the instructor at the beginning of the semester.

An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

2 Midterm exams - 50%

Final exam - 20%

Presentation - 15%

Written essay - 15%

Total - 100%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Describe the research methods used by developmental psychologists, particularly in psychology of aging.
  2. Describe and explain physiological and health changes in adulthood and aging.
  3. Describe and explain how sensory and perceptual abilities change over adulthood.
  4. Describe and explain age-related changes in adult memory and cognition.
  5. Describe and explain how social relationships change and endure in adulthood and aging.
  6. Describe and explain age-related changes in adult social cognition.
  7. Describe and explain age-related changes and consistencies in adult personalities.
  8. Describe and explain mental health issues pertinent to aging.  
  9. Analyze the implications of aging and attitudes toward aging and older individuals.
  10. Analyze how aging intersects with gender, culture, race, class, and sexuality.
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:

Textbook(s) such as the following, the list to be updated periodically:

Harper, L., & Dobbs, B. (2018). Adult development and aging: The Canadian perspective. (1st Ed.). Canada: Nelson Publishing.




Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for PSYC 3322
Athabasca University (AU) AU PSYC 381 (3)
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU PSYC 305 (3)
Coast Mountain College (CMTN) CMTN PSYC 202 (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU PSYC 2322 (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG PSYC 2425 (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU PSYC 357 (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU PSYC 3220 (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU PSYC 3XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO PSYO 323 (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV PSYC 357 (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC PSYC 2XX (1.5)
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU PSYC 339 (3)

Course Offerings

Winter 2023