We see many differences in Life quality and ageism when applying stratification theories to late adulthood. Stratification theories contend each person is put into a position through social forces that throughout life create disadvantages and advantages(Stassen, 2016). We can observe many differences when we look at the gender, race and socioeconomic status(SES) of the individual(Stassen, 2016). Gender stratification plays a role in longevity, while boys are taught to repress emotion and tend to avoid medical attention, women are more likely to see a doctor compared to a male (Stassen, 2016). The disparity in seeking medical care shows us men may die sooner then there female counterparts (Stassen, 2016). Widowed women are more likely to stay with adult children then widowed men (Stassen, 2016). This social interaction could lend credence to activity theory that remaining active in social spheres at late adulthood can enhance happiness, intelligence and health (Stassen, 2016). This could also explain why men living alone have a higher chance of a sudden health situation (Stassen, 2016).
Stratification throughout life also effects late adulthood depending on your race and ethnicity. African Americans in poverty seem to experience many disadvantages they are more likely to be underweight at birth, learn to read before age 6, they are more likely to drop out of school and use drugs and less likely to marry or obtain a degree (Stassen, 2016). These outcomes compound with each other making the previous more likely unless you can break away from the usual path, this can become difficult as life unfolds (Stassen, 2016). Racism is another factor that can cause life quality to diminish. The effects of Racism can cause the shortening of a healthy life (Stassen, 2016). We see Racism play a role in the past where stratification prevented African Americans from owning a home, new laws made home ownership possible but with it came expensive mortgages (Stassen, 2016). African Americans suffered the most from the financial crisis of 2007, causing more poverty in a community that is already disadvantaged (Stassen, 2016).
Income is another important factor to consider when looking at differences in late adulthood. Poor elderly usually worked jobs that did not pay into the social security system, thus leaving a important source of income unavailable (Stassen, 2016). Ethnic discrimination can also be a factor in employment opportunity making saving and planing for the future harder as money is harder to come by (Stassen, 2016). The effects of income stratification can be seen in the very old, European American men who fall in the low SES category have less education, worse health, and a spottier work history then that of higher SES men (Stassen, 2016).
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