Chapters 12 and 13

Chapter 12 of The Longevity Project analyzed the healthy life patterns and social networks that their subjects had been involved with. They discovered that those who made actual ties in the social networks, more engaged, and did more community service were the ones that lived the longest.

This chapter resonated with me as I’ve done over hundreds of hours of community service since I was 13 years old. This summer, I found an organization to volunteer with in Jacksonville because I had to do a small amount of community service as a legal consequence. At the beginning of the summer, I did not want to be spending my time doing this because I was in a new city, with a new internship, and wanted to explore other opportunities with the other 3 interns. However, after two shifts of working with the organization, I instantly felt gratification, self-worth, and enjoyed working with the people there. In the end, this experience was one I will look back on with positive remarks. I’ve decided that if I were to ever move to Jacksonville, I would volunteer with them again in a heartbeat. I hope my positive outlook and investment in the community will help me in the long run.

In chapter 13, the researchers  dove into the subject and reasonings of why women tend to outlive men. They were interested to see if it was a purely biological reason. Turns out, it is in fact not just biological and that more masculine men and women had increased mortality risk meanwhile individuals who were more feminine were relatively safe and protected. Also they discovered that women outlived men longer, and more exceptionally, after their spouse has died. This may be due to the fact that women or better at creating and taking part of social relationships that have been proved to prolong life.

I was intrigued by how the Terman study established how feminine or masculine someone was. By asking participants to rate their degree of preference for about a hundred occupations, they were able to create a scale. I see two limitations in this section of the book. First, they admitted that the analyses of men and women could not directly take sexual orientation into account. In today’s this is a massive hindrance because of all the individuals who have come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Another limitation is that today’s working society and composition is not what it was like when this study was being done. More and more women are entering the workforce and are in positions that were mostly occupied by men in the 1900’s. Therefore, to create a rating on a scale of occupations that is constantly changing may not have been the best way to create masculine and feminine classifications of the participants

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1 Response to Chapters 12 and 13

  1. Eve Gilles says:

    I definitely agree that the Terman gender scale used somewhat stereotypical and outdated measures, particularly because occupations are becoming less gender-typed. As well, I think it is interesting that women live for a long time after their spouse has died, and agree that strong social relations likely contribute to this. I have definitely observed this in my grandparents, as my Nana outlived my Papa but is thriving due to strong friendships and a circle of church and community members.

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