There is general agreement that the elderly experience a higher proportion of significant life event changes than the younger adult population, and research suggests that life event changes often precede episodes of psychiatric illness. It is also evident, however, that most people over 60 successfully adapt to their changing circumstances without psychiatric disorders. Clearly, the presence of certain physical, psychological, and social mediators may modify the stress response in a predictable fashion. Off-time life events, absence of a confidant, an intrapunitive personality, and a dependence on alcohol, psychotropic, and sedative/hypnotic medications are all examples of mediators that indicate an individual who may be at risk. It is our hope that researchers will continue to identify specific risk factors associated with psychiatric illness in the elderly for use in designing specific prevention and intervention programs for those at risk.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health