T.A. Hulslander, Psy.D., is a 2016 graduate of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Roger L. Peterson, Ph.D., ABPP, Committee Chair
  • Cynthia Whitaker, Psy.D., Committee Member
  • Thomas Stearns, Ph.D., Committee Member


patient activation, older adults, depression, social constructionism, social discourse, personal narrative, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

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I highlight the generally negative social discourse on aging in the United States, which is often characterized by themes of marginalization and stagnation, and I advocate for a more developmental view. I propose a conceptual framework of social constructionism to consider how the intersection between social discourse and personal narrative regarding aging might influence older adults’ patient activation; Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) is an appropriate qualitative methodology through which to understand these relational dynamics. Key constructs are defined and evidentiary, social justice, and pragmatic rationales are provided. In a discussion of the application to clinical psychology I suggests that how the “baby boomer” generation—the largest birth cohort of the 20th century—navigate older adulthood will have social implications in how subsequent generations experience aging. Clinical intervention implications are explored, as are several intersections, including relationship, diversity, ethics, and developmental psychology. Themes of distancing one’s self from an aging peer group; ongoing personal development; staying active, both mentally and physically; and acceptance emerged from conversations with ten older adults ages 60 to 68.


T.A. Hulslander

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0003-1125-6012