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Psychology and Aging

Code: 102581 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2502443 Psychology OT 4 1
The proposed teaching and assessment methodology that appear in the guide may be subject to changes as a result of the restrictions to face-to-face class attendance imposed by the health authorities.


Sergi Arenas i Guarch

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
catalan (cat)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:


Pre-requisites and/or previous knowledge are not established for following the subject.

Regular attendance is important for following the subject.

The subject is part of the Specialisation in Analysis and Psychosocial Intervention and the Specialisation in Health.

Objectives and Contextualisation

Demographic ageing and longevity are a characteristic phenomenon of developed societies and they nourish the interest in understanding the ageing process in its different dimensions. The increase in the number of elderly people and the increase in the number of people reaching advanced old age pose challenges of individual and collective adaptation in a social context characterized by substantial changes in different areas (family, work, relational, economic). Concern for issues such as quality of life at different stages of ageing, prevention of dependency or the family and professional long-term care is accompanied by the interest in the development of initiatives, services and products appropriate to the existing heterogeneity among the elderly, where gender becomes an essential factor in the construction of the ageing experience. Psychology offers theoretical contributions, based on research, valid for dealing with those issues and provides useful guidelines in the definition of different types of responses and professional interventions.

In this subject, a global vision of ageing will be provided, from a theoretical and practical perspective, showing different types of professional intervention and innovative initiatives.

The objectives of the subject are:

1. To understand the different dimensions of the ageing process.

2. To know the development processes and the changes related to ageing.

3. To understand the challenges of ageing in developed societies.

4. To know and reflect on gender inequalities in the experience of ageing.

5. To analyze the different phenomena that take on special singularity in the elderly.

6. To approach the design and application of interventions with the elderly in different frameworks of work.

7. To know the career options in the field of psychogerontology


  • Analyse and interpret the results of the evaluation.
  • Apply knowledge, skills and acquired values critically, reflexively and creatively.
  • Communicate efficiently, using the appropriate media (oral, written or audio-visual) taking into account diversity and all elements that may ease communication or make it more difficult.
  • Criticise the effects of personal practice on people, taking into account the complexity of human diversity.
  • Distinguish and relate the principles of psychosocial functioning of groups and organizations.
  • Identify and describe the processes and stages in psychological development through the life cycle.
  • Interact through effective teamwork with the other professionals involved.
  • Maintain a favourable attitude towards the permanent updating through critical evaluation of scientific documentation, taking into account its origin, situating it in an epistemological framework and identifying and contrasting its contributions in relation to the available disciplinary knowledge.
  • Make systematic reviews of the different documentary sources in psychology to collect, order and classify research data and materials.
  • Prepare and write technical reports on the results of the evaluation, research or services requested.
  • Recognise the deontological code and act ethically.
  • Recognise the social dimension of human beings, considering historical and sociocultural factors involved in shaping human psychology.
  • Use adequate tools for communication.
  • Work in a team.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Analyse the relationship between the family system and other related systems.
  2. Apply knowledge, skills and acquired values critically, reflexively and creatively.
  3. Apply theoretical concepts in the analysis cases.
  4. Contrast different documentary sources.
  5. Criticise the effects of personal practice on people, taking into account the complexity of human diversity.
  6. Describe the processes and stages of individual development and family groups.
  7. Develop written technical reports on assessment from case studies.
  8. Identify concepts and psychosocial processes that show the social and cultural dimension of behaviour.
  9. Identify elements of functional and dysfunctional communication.
  10. Identify the elements that influence communication and organization of work.
  11. Link the data to the theoretical approach adopted to articulate the data obtained with the intervention to be performed.
  12. Maintain a favourable attitude towards the permanent updating through critical evaluation of scientific documentation, taking into account its origin, situating it in an epistemological framework and identifying and contrasting its contributions in relation to the available disciplinary knowledge.
  13. Recognise the deontological code and act ethically.
  14. Recognise the fundamental theoretical concepts in the texts.
  15. Select and use appropriate communication resources according to the characteristics and skills of the target considering age and cultural identification.
  16. Select the relevant data for the evaluation of a case considering the life course and context of intervention.
  17. Show an open disposition and a favourable attitude to cooperation.
  18. Use adequate tools for communication.
  19. Work in a team.


  1. Introduction to the psychology of ageing
  2. Population ageing. Social representation of ageing. Ageing as a woman
  3. Psychological changes associated to ageing. Ageing processes
  4. Ageing and sexuality
  5. The paradigm of Active Ageing
  6. The paradigm of Person-Centreed Attention
  7. Psychosocial intervention in the field of ageing
  8. Intervencion in care centers for older people
  9. Unwanted loneliness: approach to the phenomenon and examples of intervention
  10. Career options in psychogerontology
  11. Study of phenomena associated with ageing:
    • Intergenerational projects
    • Abuse of elderly people and promotion of good treatment
    • LGTBI Ageing
    • Psychosocial impact of COVID-19 in older people
    • Senior cohousing
    • Application of Dementia Care Mapping (DCM)
    • University programs for the elderly
    • Support groups for caregivers of people with cognitive impairment
    • Technology and provision of care
    • Image of the elderly in the media


Different methodological strategies will be combined:

  • Presentation of contents by the teacher
  • Interview with older people and individual and comparative analysis.
  • Analysis, preparation and presentation of different phenomena related to ageing by groups of students and discussion.

Throughout the course, presentations by professionals who work in different fields related to the elderly will be made (ex: unwanted loneliness, intergenerational relationships, residential care centres for the elderly, etc.). Presentations by professionals are of mandatory attendance.

The virtual platform Moodle is the communication channel of the subject outside the classroom. It is the responsibility of the student to access in a regular basis in order to get informed about the content that is published.

N.B. The proposed teaching and assessment methodologies may experience some modifications as a result of the restrictions on face-to-face learning imposed by the health authorities. The teaching staff will use the Moodle classroom or the usual communication channel to specify whether the different directed and assessment activities are to be carried out on site or online, as instructed by the Faculty.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Master classes 24 0.96 1, 3, 6, 12, 11, 16
Practical sessions 12 0.48 2, 5, 8, 13, 11, 16, 19
Type: Supervised      
Tutoring in small groups 6 0.24 2, 11, 16, 19
Type: Autonomous      
Preparation and realization of group work 24 0.96 2, 4, 8, 10, 17, 14, 11, 16, 19, 18
Preparation and realization of individual works 40 1.6 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 11, 15, 16
Preparation of text presentation 20 0.8 2, 5, 10, 12, 17, 13, 15, 19, 18
Study, reading and analysis of texts 24 0.96 12


The competences will be evaluated by continuous evaluation, based on the following obligatory assignments: 1 individual report, 1 report based on a group and an individual part, and 2 group presentations.

The indicated delivery weeks are approximated. The final calendar will be presented at the beginning of the course.

Evaluation criteria:

  • Pass: Students who have demonstrated having achieved the competencies evaluated in the different activities. The four evidences must be passed with a minimum mark of 5.
  • Evaluable: Students who have given learning evidences with a weight equal to or higher than 4 points (2 or more assignments of the course)
  • Evaluable, Fail: Students who have not achieved the minimum mark of 5 in any of the evaluation activities. The maximum overall grade that can be reached in this case is 4.9 points.
  • Re-evaluation: Re-evaluation will be done continuously. If the minimum mark of 5 is not reached, a new delivery must be made within two weeks after the first delivery, or at the time specified during the course. Re‑evaluation may not be used to improve on a passing mark, once it's passed.

If any the student makes any irregularity (copying, plagiarism, etc.) that may lead to a significant variation in the grade of an assessment act, it will be graded with 0 and it will lead to a failure in the course.

At the end of each group presentation session and professional presentations, students will have the option to submit the questions asked in the subsequent debate. The student who submits 80% of the questions will opt for 1 extra point in the final grade, as long as it is equal to or higher than 5.

Students who attend the subject in 2nd or later enrolment will have the option of delivering an integrative evaluation activity, based on the preparation and presentation of a report and a poster on a phenomenon related to ageing (to be determined), for which a maximum grade of 5 can be assigned. This option must be communicated within the first 2 weeks of the course.

Link to the assessment guidelines of the faculty: https://www.uab.cat/web/estudiar/graus/graus/avaluacions-1345722525858.html


Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
EV1. Report: Interview with an elderly person (written, individual). Week 7. 25 0 0 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13, 11, 15, 16
EV2. Comparative report on interviews (EV1 must have been passed) (written, individual and collective). Week 12. 25 0 0 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 17, 13, 14, 16, 19
EV3. Preparation and presentation of a poster and a report on an ageing- related phenomenon (oral and written, collective). Weeks 13 and 15. 30 0 0 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 17, 14, 11, 15, 19, 18
EV4. Analysis and presentation of a published scientific article (oral and written, collective). Weeks 5 to 7. 20 0 0 2, 9, 10, 12, 17, 14, 19, 18


Recommended bibliography:

  • Ezquerra, S.; Pérez-Salanova, M.; Pla, M.; Subirats, J. (eds.) (2016). Edades en transición, envejecer en el siglo XXI: edades, condiciones de vida, participación e incorporación tecnológica en el cambio de época. Barcelona: Ariel.
  • Pinazo S. y Sánchez M. (dir.) (2005). Gerontología. Actualización, innovación y propuestas. Madrid: Pearson Prentice Hall.
  • Prieto, D. et al (2009). Las dimensiones subjetivas del envejecimiento. Colección Estudios, Serie Personas Mayores Nº 11007. Madrid: Imserso. Recuperado en: https://www.imserso.es/InterPresent1/groups/imserso/documents/binario/11007dimensenvejec.pdf
  • Triadó, C. y Villar, F. (coords.) (2006) Psicología de la vejez. Madrid: Alianza Editorial.

Other readings:

  • Arenas, S. y Pratginestós, E. (2006). El Papel del psicólogo en centros residenciales geriátricos: revisión de la situación actual y propuesta de funciones para un desarrollo óptimo de actividad. Barcelona: Col·legi Oficial de Psicòlegs de Catalunya. Recuperado de: https://www.infogerontologia.com/documents/rol/rol_psico_arenas_pratginestos.pdf
  • Barnes, M, Benet, G. (1998). Frail bodies, courageous voices: older people influencing community care. Health and Social care in the Community, 6(2), 102-111. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2524.1998.00105.x
  • Bueno, B. Y Navarro, A. (2004). Afrontamiento y calidad de vida. Revista Espanola de Geriatria y Gerontologia; 39(3), 31-37. 
  • Chapman, Sherry et. al (2005). "I don't think I am 'old' although I am aged": Seniors' Perceptions of Later-Life Well-Being. Alberta: University of Alberta. Recuperado de: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267805265_Perceptions_of_Later-Life_Well-Being_1_I_don't_think_I_am_'old'_although_I_am_aged_Seniors'_Perceptions_of_Later-Life_Well-Being 
  • Charpentier. M., Guberman, N., Billette,V., Lavoie,J.P., Grenier, A., & Olazabal, I. (Éds) (2010). Vieillir au pluriel. Perspectives sociales. Montréal: Presses de l’Université du Québec.
  • Cusak S. A. (1998). Leadership in Seniors’ Centres: power and empowerment in relations between seniors and staff. Education and Ageing, 13 (1): 49– 66.
  • Freixas, A. (2003). Las mujeres queremos ser mayores y poder parecerlo. En Maquieira, V. (comp.), Mujeres mayores en el siglo XXI De la invisibilidad al protagonismo (pp 251-273). Madrid: Ministerio de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales. Recuperado de: http://envejecimiento.csic.es/documentos/documentos/maquieira-mujeres-01.pdf
  • Freixas, A. (2013). Tan frescas. Las nuevas mujeres mayores del siglo XXI. Barcelona: Paidós.
  • Freixas, A. (2018). Sin reglas. Erótica y libertad femenina en la madurez. Madrid: Capitán Swing.
  • Greene, R. y Cohen, HL. (2005). Social work with Older Adults and their Families: Changing Practice Paradigms. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services. 86 (3), 309–319. doi: 10.1606%2F1044-3894.3434
  • Izal, M. y Montorio, I. (Ed.) (1999). Gerontología conductual. Bases para la intervención ámbitos de aplicación. Madrid: Síntesis.
  • Izal, M., Montoro, I., Guadalupe, M. (2016). Programa para la mejora del bienestar de las personas mayores. Estudio piloto basado en la psicología positiva. Suma Psicológica. 23(1), 51-59. doi: 10.1016/j.sumpsi.2016.03.001
  • Janlöv, A-C., Rahm Hallberg, I., & Petersson, K. (2006). Older persons' experience of being assessed for and receiving public home help: do they have any influence over it? Health & Social Care in the Community, 14(1), 26-36. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2524.2005.00594.x
  • Majón-Valpuesta, D., Ramos, P., & Pérez-Salanova, M. (2016). Claves para el análisis de la participación social en los procesos de envejecimiento de la generación baby boom. Psicoperspectivas 15(2), 53-63. doi: 10.5027/psicoperspectivas-vol16-issue2-fulltext-833
  • Morrell, C.M. (2003). Empowerment and long-living women: return to the rejected body. Journal of aging studies, 17(1):69-85. doi: 10.1016/S0890-4065(02)00091-9
  • Paun, O. (2003). Older women caring for spouses with alzheimer’s disease at home: making sense of the situation. Health Care for Women International, 24(4):292–312. doi: 10.1080/07399330390183615
  • Pinazo-Hernandis S. (2020, en prensa), Impacto psicosocial del COVID-19 en las personas mayores: problemas y retos, Revista Espanola de Geriatria y Gerontologia. doi: 10.1016/j.regg.2020.05.006
  • Rodríguez, G. et al. (2013). Las Personas Mayores que vienen. Autonomía Solidaridad y Participación social. Madrid: Fundación Pilares.
  • Rodríguez, T. (2016). La atención centrada en la persona en los servicios gerontológicos. Modelos de atención y evaluación. Madrid: Fundación Pilares. 
  • Rodríguez, T. (2000). Personas mayores y lenguaje cotidiano. El poder de las palabras. Madrid: Fundación Pilares. 
  • Salvarezza, L. (1991). Vejez, Medicina y Prejuicios. Vertex, 4(2), 129-136. Recuperado de: http://www.polemos.com.ar/docs/vertex/vertex4.pdf
  • Strawbridge, W.J, Wallhagen, M.I y Cohen R.D (2002) Successful aging and well-being: Self-rated compared with Rowe and Kahn. The Gerontologist, 42(6):727-733. doi: 10.1093/geront/42.6.725.
  • Thompson, N, y Thompson S. (2001). Empowering Older People Beyond the Care Model. Journal of Social Work, 1(1): 61-76. doi: 10.1177/146801730100100105
  • White M.; Riley J. (2000). Age Integration: Conceptual and historical Background. The Gerontologist, 40(3), 266-270. doi: 10.1093/geront/40.3.266
  • Yanguas, J.; Leturia, P.; Leturia, M.; y Uriarte, A. (1998) Intervención psicosocial en Gerontología: Manual práctico. Madrid: Cáritas.