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Kenneth F. Ferraro

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date: 09 May 2021

Gerontologists are intrigued by the astonishing degree of heterogeneity in later life and seek to identify the mechanisms that create or reduce it. Oddly, some fields of recent inquiry emphasize diversity associated with race, sex, and class, while giving scant attention to diversity by age. Gerontologists, by contrast, are vigilant to explore diversity between and within age groups. This chapter delineates some of the sources of heterogeneity in later life, including interindividual and intercohort differences, intraindividual change, non-normative events, and stochastic processes. It also considers processes that may reduce heterogeneity. To illustrate the axiom of heterogeneity, it identifies age and cohort differences in the consequences of environmental exposures.

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