Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Adult Age and Old Age

Adult Age and Old Age
First semester
Main language of instruction: Spanish

Other languages of instruction: Catalan, English

Teaching staff

Students can see the teacher after class or at other times with a prior appointment.


This subject Adulthood and Old age aims to give students knowledge of the process of human development. A full review of the changes in different biopsychosocial dimensions that make up this period in a person’s life will be given, from adulthood through to old age. The subject matter will include different models and theories about the development and we will look at the vital and psychosocial changes that take place in this process.

Pre-course requirements



1. To acquire basic knowledge of the development of adults and the elderly in their respective stages of life.

2. To give the student an insight into models of development and the theories of ageing.

3. To learn about the biological changes that take place as a part of ageing.

4. To learn about the most significant changes and psychosocial aspects of adulthood and old age.

5. To acquire knowledge about illness and end-of-life care.



  • CB03 - Students must have the ability to bring together and interpret relevant data (normally within their area of study) in order to issue judgements that include a reflection on relevant issues of a social, scientific and ethical nature.
  • CE08 - Awareness of the professional reality of psychologists in a specific field of application.
  • CE12 - The ability to explain and identify the main stages of human development, recognise their progression and identify the characteristic signs and symptoms of the most frequent psychological conditions in each stage of development.
  • CE14 - The ability to recognise the basis of normal and altered human behaviour.
  • CG05 - Understanding of the limitations of the psychological analysis of human behaviour and the ability to incorporate concepts and analytical techniques from other disciplines.
  • CG10 - Sensitivity to the needs and expectations of others.
  • CT05 - The ability to reason and assess situations and results from a critical, constructive point of view.
  • CT06 - The ability to develop interpersonal skills
  • CT08 - The ability to put theoretical knowledge into practice
  • CT09 - The ability to communicate adequately, both orally and in writing

Learning outcomes

Once the student has finished this subject, they should be able to:

a) Recognise the development characteristics that define the stages of adulthood and old age in a simulation case.

b) Apply the different theories of ageing in a simulation case.

c) Identify the different biological and sociological theories of ageing in a written test.

d) Analyse development characteristics and psychosocial aspects in an adulthood real case.

e) Analyse development characteristics and psychosocial aspects in an ageing real case.

f) Identify physiological changes and chronic illnesses that usually emerge in old age in a written test.

g) Point out the main statement of end-of-life care in a written test.

h) Explain the fears about death and the acceptation process of dying in a written test.



Topic 1. Conceptualisation of adulthood and old age

1.1. Psychology and the challenges of ageing

1.2. Theories of ageing

1.3. The life cycle: development in adulthood and old age as evolutionary stages

1.4. Different patterns of ageing

Topic 2. Biopsychosocials changes in adulthood and ageing

2.1. Changes and psychological development in adulthood

2.2. Changes during old age

2.3. Biological and physical changes associated with ageing

Topic 3. Psychosocial aspects of adulthood and old age

3.1. Love and establishment of a family

3.2. Family issues: separation, raising children, etc.

3.3. Work and retirement

3.4. The role of the family in ageing: the role of the “grandparent”

3.5. Loss of a partner and loneliness

3.6. Dependence

Topic 4. End of life

4.1. Ageing and illness

4.2. Palliative care and integrated end of life care

4.3. Death

4.4. Grief


Teaching and learning activities

In person

- Lectures

- Practical classes

- Critical reading

- Individual and at-home study


Evaluation systems and criteria

In person

60% Written test (A minimum of 5 will be required in the written test to be able to average the other grades)

30% Group assignment

10% Participation in class

Students need to achieve at least an average of 5 in the overall assessment in order to pass this subject. If a student fails the written test, they must retake it.



60% Written test (all contents)

30% Group assignment (same grade than 1st call)

10% Participation in class (same grade than 1st call)

A minimum of 5 will be required on the test to average. The subject will be approved with a minimum average of 5 taking into account all the evaluated parts.

Bibliography and resources

  • Schaie, K.W. y Willis, S.L. (2003). Psicología de la edad adulta y la vejez (5ª ed.). Madrid: Pearson-Prentice Hall
  • Bengtson, V. L., & Settersten Jr, R. (Eds.). (2016). Handbook of theories of aging. Springer Publishing Company.
  • Berger, K.S. (2009). Psicología del desarrollo: adultez y vejez. (7ª ed.). Madrid: Médica Panamericana.
  • Fernández Ballesteros, R. (2014). Psicología de la Vejez: Una psicogerontología aplicada. Madrid: Pirámide.
  • Martínez Torres, J. (2002). Psicología del envejecimiento. Madrid: Pirámide.
  • Millán, J. C. (2006). Principios de Geriatría y Gerontología. Madrid: McGraw-Hill.

Evaluation period

E: exam date | R: revision date | 1: first session | 2: second session:
  • E1 20/12/2022 A15 10:00h