Today, the average human lifespan is at an all-time high. While our seniors enjoy the benefits of an improved lifespan, they may also be suffering from a decline in mental health. Previous research has found that as we enter middle adulthood, our risk for depression and anxiety decreases. In later adulthood, rates of mental illness rise significantly. Age is associated with both protective factors, including wisdom and maturity, and risk factors, such as impaired memory and loss of identity. While there are many theories that attempt to explain the relationships between age and mental health, the data often tells a different story. This presentation will review the literature on mental health and aging, as well as new data that ties these two factors to identity, to explore the complex relationship between identity, age, and mental health.
Emily Rinaldi is a senior majoring in psychology and sociology. On campus, Emily is part of the Honors Program and the Anti Human Trafficking Task Force. Upon graduation, she plans to attend graduate school and obtain a doctorate in clinical psychology. She enjoys cooking, fashion, and her two rescue dogs.