New book on adult development and aging aimed at clinicians and aspiring researchers

Manfred Diehl Portrait
Manfred Diehl

Manfred Diehl, distinguished professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Colorado State Uuniversity, has published a new book to help graduate students and professionals better understand aging. 

The new book synthesizes decades of psychological research into a comprehensive volume that considers later life in the context of the entire lifespan, social and physical environment, and historical-cultural influences. 

The book, The Psychology of Later Life: A Contextual Perspective, published by the American Psychological Association, covers the main areas of adult development and aging, such as normal cognitive development, personality development, motivational and emotional development, and subjective awareness of aging.

Diehl and co-author, Hans-Werner Wahl, have put forward a unique contextual perspective that discusses the challenges and opportunities that people face as they grow from midlife into later life, including the opportunities for behavioral interventions. 

“If we do not pay attention to the influences of these contexts on people’s development, we are missing a very important part of the story,” says Diehl whose research focuses on adult development and aging.

The book was designed for first-year and second-year graduate students, but also for professionals who have some prior knowledge related to adult development and aging. The audience includes clinical and counseling psychologists, social workers, educators, and social policymakers.

“It is our hope that such a reflection and an infusion of their work with the most recent research findings may enhance their clinical practice with middle-aged and older adults,” says the book’s introduction.

The main point that Diehl and Wahl hope that readers will take away is that aging is not a linear process, and it is not a process of only decline. As we grow older, we face many challenges, but also have many opportunities.

The psychology of later life.

“Therefore, it is important to understand what is possible and where the limits of human aging are,” says Diehl. “Also, each and every person can take an active role in his or her aging process.”

The book is dedicated to the teachers who mentored Diehl and Wahl throughout their academic career, their students, and all the older adults who have participated in their research and have shown them how to grow older with grace and dignity.

“I hope the book finds good use among students, colleagues, and many interested readers,” says Diehl. “I look forward to learning from the readers about what they liked in the book and where we can make improvements.”

Diehl is the Director of the Adult Development and Aging ProjecT (ADAPT). The research activities of the lab focus on understanding and promoting healthy development in early, middle, and late adulthood and are supported by funding from the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health.

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences