You are here


Concepts and Controversies

Tenth Edition

July 2020 | 640 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Winner of the 2022 Textbook & Academic Authors Association's The McGuffey Longevity Award

Aging: Concepts and Controversies is structured to encourage a style of teaching and learning that goes beyond conveying facts and methods. This innovative text focuses on controversies and questions rather than on assimilating facts or creating a single “correct” view about aging or older people. Drawing on their extensive expertise, authors Harry R. Moody and Jennifer R. Sasser first provide an overview of aging in three domains: aging over the life course, health care, and socioeconomic trends. Each section then includes data and conceptual frameworks, helping students to make sense of the controversies and understand their origin, engage in critical thinking, and develop their own views. The Tenth Edition of this hallmark textbook includes amplified discussions focused on differences, diversity, structural inequalities, and inclusion, as well as contemporary issues, including climate change and immigration.


Included with this title:

The password-protected Instructor Resource Site (formally known as SAGE Edge) offers access to all text-specific resources, including a test bank and editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides. Learn more.
About the Authors
Part 1: Basic Concepts I. A Life Course Perspective on Aging
Age Identification

The Stages of Life

The Life Course and Aging

Traditional Theories of Aging

Influences on the Life Course

Aging in the 21st Century

The Biology of Aging

Aging and Psychological Functioning


Chapter 1: Controversy 1. Does Old Age Have Meaning?
The Meaning of Age

Leisure Activities in Later Life

Religion and Spirituality

Gerontology and the Meaning of Age

Activity or Reflection?

Questions for Writing, Reflection, and Debate

Chapter 2: Controversy 2. Why Do Our Bodies Grow Old?
The Process of Biological Aging

Biological Theories of Aging

Is Aging Inevitable?

Compression or Prolongation of Morbidity?

Questions for Writing, Reflection, and Debate

Chapter 3: Controversy 3. Do Intelligence and Creativity Decline With Age?
Elements of Cognitive Function

The Classic Aging Pattern

Measures of Late-Life Intelligence

Studies of Age and Cognitive Function

Correlates of Cognitive Stability

Creativity in an Aging Population

Questions for Writing, Reflection, and Debate

Part 2: Basic Concepts II. Aging, Health Care, and Society
The Challenge of Longevity

Epidemiology of Aging

Economics of Health Care

Long-Term Care

Self-Determined Death


Chapter 4: Controversy 4. Should We Ration Health Care for Older People?
Precedents for Health Care Rationing

The Justification for Age-Based Rationing

Rationing as a Cost-Saving Plan

The Impetus for Rationing

Cost Versus Age

Alternative Approaches to Rationing

Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

The Debate Over Age-Based Rationing

Questions for Writing, Reflection, and Debate

Chapter 5: Controversy 5. Should Families Provide for Their Own?
Aging and the American Family

Abandonment or Independence?

Family Responsibility

Medicaid and Long-Term Care

Financing Long-Term Care

Medicaid Planning

Questions for Writing, Reflection, and Debate

Chapter 6: Controversy 6. Should Older People Be Protected From Bad Choices?
The Vulnerabilities of Older People

Interfering When People Make Bad Choices

Elder Abuse and Mistreatment

Perceptions of Quality of Life

Sexuality in Later Life

Crime and Older Adults

Intervention in the Lives of Vulnerable Older Adults

Questions for Writing, Reflection, and Debate

Chapter 7: Controversy 7. Should People Have the Choice to End Their Lives?
Depression and Suicide

The “Right to Die”

Outlook for the Future

Questions for Writing, Reflection, and Debate

Part 3: Basic Concepts III. Social and Economic Outlook for an Aging Society
The Varieties of Aging Experience

The Economic Status of Older Americans

Public Policy on Aging


Chapter 8: Controversy 8. Should Age or Need Be the Basis for Entitlement?
A Tale of Two Generations

Justice Between Generations

The Least-Advantaged Older Adults

Help for Those Most in Need

The Targeting Debate

Questions for Writing, Reflection, and Debate

Chapter 9: Controversy 9. What Is the Future for Social Security?
Main Features of Social Security

Success—and Doubt

Pay as You Go

Social Security Trust Fund



Women and Social Security

Debate Over Social Security

Questions for Writing, Reflection, and Debate

Chapter 10: Controversy 10. Is Retirement Obsolete?
History of Retirement

Origins of Late-Life Leisure

Changes in the American Economy

A New View of Retirement

Debate Over Retirement Policy

Questions for Writing, Reflection, and Debate

Chapter 11: Controversy 11. Aging Boomers: Boom or Bust?
Who Are the Boomers?

What Is a Generation? Age-Period-Cohort Analysis

Social Construction of the Boomer Phenomenon

Boomers in the Years Ahead

Questions for Writing, Reflection, and Debate

Chapter 12: Controversy 12. The New Aging Marketplace: Hope or Hype?
The New Customer Majority

Market Sectors Likely to Grow

What Do Older Consumers Want?

Limits of the Marketplace Model

Questions for Writing, Reflection, and Debate

Epilogue: Finding Your Place in an Aging Society
Appendix: Tips for Conducting Your Own Research in Gerontology


Student Resources

The open-access Student Study Site makes it easy for students to maximize their study time, anywhere, anytime. It offers flashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts, as well as learning objectives that reinforce the most important material.

For additional information, custom options, or to request a personalized walkthrough of these resources, please contact your sales representative.
Instructor Resources

Online resources included with this text

The online resources for your text are available via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site, which offers access to all text-specific resources, including a test bank and editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides.

“[Moody and Sasser] is very relevant and relatable for the graduate students. They appreciate the diverse perspectives on various issues affecting the aging population.”

Tamara Wolske
University of Indianapolis

“I believe this book contains the best information for students who are new to aging concepts. This text is the most comprehensive in relation to course objectives and outcomes.”

Angela Johnson
MHA, Indiana State University

“Completely relatable as it discusses concepts broadly and offers a critical approach.”

Elizabeth Edson Chapleski, MSW, PhD
Wayne State University

“I have used this text for years and love it!”

Linda J. Keilman, DNP, GNP-BC, FAANP
Michigan State University

“One of the [book’s] greatest strengths is the emphasis that there is no one right answer to some of these problems, that it is possible for smart people to come up with different solutions.”

Twyla Hill
Wichita State University

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

For instructors

Purchasing options

Please select a format: