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Spirituality and Aging


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Atchley's book is an enormous, and unprecedented, contribution to the field. The book will be very important, and he's absolutely the best person to write it. -- Harry R. Moody, Director, Office of Academic Affairs, AARP This is a wise and important work that could make a difference in the way aging persons, and gerontologists, think about spirituality and aging. -- Susan H. McFadden, The University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh

Table of Contents

Introduction: Setting the Stage
Part I: Basic Frames of Reference
1. The Nature of Spiritual Experience
2. Spiritual Development
3. Spirituality, Spiritual Self, and Spiritual Identity
Part II: Spirtual Journeying
4. Becoming a Sage and a Spiritual Elder: Transpersonal Psychology
5. Transpersonal Sociology and Serving from Spirit
Part III: Examples Using an Expanded View
6. Continuity, Spiritual Growth, and Coping in Later Adulthood
7. Spiritual Beliefs and Practices and the Experience of Time and Aging
8. Spirituality and the Experience of Dying and Death
Conclusion: Summary, Reflections, and Implications
Appendix A: Spirituality Inventory
Appendix B: Questions for Reflection and Spiritual Self-Assessment

About the Author

Robert C. Atchley is a distinguished professor of gerontology emeritus at Miami University, Ohio, where he also served as the director of the Scripps Gerontology Center. Professor Atchley was previously a professor and chair of the Department of Gerontology at the Naropa Institute, in Boulder, Colorado, and is the author of Social Forces and Aging and of Continuity and Adaptation in Aging: Creating Positive Experiences, also published by Johns Hopkins.


Considers fundamental questions about the meaning of being and how it is shaped by the experience of aging. Atchley's major goal is to provide a conceptual and theoretical picture of spirituality as a subject in its own right, separate from, though sometimes overlapping with religion. He acknowledges that many find that their religious beliefs provide an important and maybe even exclusive context for spirituality, but discovered that as age increases so does the proportion of people who see spirituality in a broader context than formal or organised religion. He sets out to use language that will enable conversation around spiritual experiences we can share rather than religious concepts that separate us. Counselling Today [New Zealand] This innovative essay will stimulate theory development and research. -- David O. Moberg Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith Indeed, because of Atchley's extensive knowledge and experiences in spirituality and aging, this volume should serve as an excellent supplement for anyone interested in research, practice, or teaching of spirituality and aging. -- Holly Nelson-Becker Canadian Journal on Aging Atchley is... to be greatly commended for opening our eyes to a fuller and richer view of the place of spirituality in the ageing process. That he is able to explore all of these themes with such insight and depth in this slim and accessible monograph is to his credit. Spirituality and Aging is a seminal work for the religious gerontology field and should be added to the must-read list for anyone seeking to be an informed scholar or practitioner in this field. -- Jeff Levin Journal of Ageing and Society Understanding Atchley's spiritual perspective on aging will benefit readers both inside and outside of academia. -- Wilkie Au Religious Studies Review

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