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Life-Span Development Twelfth Edition

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Presentation on theme: "Life-Span Development Twelfth Edition"— Presentation transcript:

1 Life-Span Development Twelfth Edition
Chapter 16: Socioemotional Development in Middle Adulthood ©2009 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

2 Stages of Adulthood Erikson’s Generativity vs. Stagnation:
Generativity: adults’ desire to leave legacies of themselves to the next generation Biological generativity Parental generativity Work generativity Cultural generativity Stagnation: develops when individuals sense that they have done nothing for the next generation Research supports Erikson’s theory

3 Stages of Adulthood

4 Stages of Adulthood Levinson’s Seasons of a Man’s Life:
20’s are a novice phase of adult development Exploring the possibilities for adult living; developing a stable life structure 30’s are a time for focusing on family and career development Becoming One’s Own Man (BOOM) By the 40’s, man has a stable career and now must look forward to the kind of life he will lead as a middle-aged adult

5 Stages of Adulthood Levinson’s Seasons of a Man’s Life (continued):
Transition to middle adulthood lasts about 5 years (ages 40 to 45) and requires that men come to grips with conflicts existing since adolescence: Being young vs. being old Being destructive vs. being constructive Being masculine vs. being feminine Being attached to others vs. being separated from them According to Levinson, 70%–80% of men find the midlife transition tumultuous and psychologically painful A successful transition rests on reducing the polarities and accepting each as an integral part of one’s being

6 Levinson’s Periods of Adult Development

7 Stages of Adulthood How pervasive are midlife crises?
Vaillant’s “Grant Study”: The 40’s are a decade of reassessing and recording the truth about the adolescent and adult years Only a minority of adults experience a midlife crisis Reports of general well-being and life satisfaction tend to be high during mid-life Another study found that 26% of adults experienced a midlife crisis Most attributed this to negative life events rather than aging

8 Stages of Adulthood Adults often experience a peak of personal control and power during middle age Adults’ ability to master their environment, autonomy, and personal relations improve during middle age Adult developmental experts generally agree that midlife crises have been exaggerated In general, stage theories place too much emphasis on crises in development There is often considerable individual variation in the way people experience the stages

9 Stages of Adulthood

10 Stages of Adulthood Individual Variations:
Stage theories do not adequately address individual variations in adult development Some individuals may experience a midlife crisis in some contexts of their lives but not others In 1/3 of cases where individuals report experiencing a midlife crisis, the crisis was triggered by life events such as job loss, financial problems, or illness

11 The Life-Events Approach
The life-events approach is another major way to conceptualize adult personality development Contemporary Life-Events Approach: how life events influence the individual’s development depends on: The life event itself Mediating factors The individual’s adaptation to the life event Life-stage context Sociohistorical context

12 The Life-Events Approach
Drawbacks: Life-events approach places too much emphasis on change, not adequately recognizing stability It may not be life’s major events that are the primary sources of stress, but our daily experiences Focus on daily hassles and uplifts rather than major events

13 The Life-Events Approach

14 Stress and Personal Control
Overall, stress is highest in young and middle- aged adults; declines in older adults Middle-aged adults experience more “overload” stressors that involve juggling too many activities at once Middle-aged adults are more reactive to interpersonal stressors (but less reactive to work stressors) than younger adults On average, a sense of personal control decreases as adults become older Some aspects increase while others decrease

15 Stress and Personal Control

16 Contexts of Midlife Development
Historical Contexts (cohort effects): Changing historical times and different social expectations influence how cohorts move through the life span Social clock: the timetable according to which individuals are expected to accomplish life’s tasks Gender Contexts: Most stage theories are accused of male bias Women’s concerns and stressors are different from those of men Cultural and social attitudes affect women’s roles

17 Contexts of Midlife Development
Gender Contexts (continued): Early fifties brought a new prime of life for many women More empty nests Better health Higher income More concern for parents Stereotype that midlife is a negative age period for women is largely false

18 Contexts of Midlife Development
Cultural Contexts: In many nonindustrialized societies, the concept of middle age is unclear or absent Midlife often brings about great change for women in nonindustrialized societies: Often freed from restrictions placed on younger women Right to exercise authority over specified younger kin Eligibility for special status and the possibility of recognition beyond the household

19 Contexts of Midlife Development

20 Stability and Change The Baltimore Study used the big five factors of personality to study 1,000 college-educated persons aged 20 to 96 starting from the 1950s and continuing today: Considerable stability in the five personality factors Agreeableness and conscientiousness increased in early and middle adulthood Neuroticism decreased in early adulthood Openness to experience increased in adolescence/early adulthood and then decreased in late adulthood

21 Stability and Change Berkeley Longitudinal Studies: more than 500 children and parents studied in the 1920s through midlife: No support that personality is characterized by changes or stability from adolescence to midlife Intellectual orientation, self-confidence, and openness to experience were the more stable traits Ability to nurture and self-control changed most

22 Stability and Change Helson’s Mills College Study: studied 152 women from the 1950s through their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s Three main groups: Family-oriented Career-oriented Neither path Between age 27 and early 40’s, women shifted toward less traditional feminine attitudes Midlife crisis was really midlife consciousness Similarities in concerns found between women in early their early 40s and Levinson’s findings

23 STABILITY AND CHANGE Vaillant’s Studies: conducted three longitudinal studies from the 1920s through today: Alcohol abuse and smoking at age 50 was the best predictor of death between ages 75 and 80 Factors at age 50 which are best predictors of “happy-well” between ages 75 and 80: Regular exercise and avoiding being overweight Well-educated and future oriented Having a stable marriage and good coping skills Being thankful, forgiving, and empathetic Being active with other people

24 Stability and Change

25 Stability and Change Conclusions:
Evidence does not support the view that personality traits become completely fixed at a certain age Change is typically small and limited; stability peaks in the 50’s and 60’s Cumulative personality model: with time and age, people become more adept at interacting with their environment in ways that promote the stability of personality Some change still characterizes personality in middle age and late adulthood

26 Stability and Change

27 Love and Marriage Romantic love is typically strong in early adulthood
Affectionate love increases during middle adulthood Most married individuals are satisfied with their marriages during midlife Divorce in midlife can be less intense due to increased resources and lessened child-rearing responsibilities However, emotional and time commitment to a long-lasting marriage is typically not given up easily Staying married because of the children is a common reason for waiting to get a divorce

28 The Empty Nest Empty Nest Syndrome: a decline in marital satisfaction after the children leave the home For most parents, marital satisfaction actually increases during the years after child rearing Refilling of empty nest is becoming a common occurrence Adult children are returning to live at home for financial reasons Loss of privacy is a common complaint for both parents and adult children

29 Sibling Relationships and Friendships
Sibling relationships continue over the entire life span The majority of sibling relationships in adulthood are close Friendships continue to be important in middle adulthood Friendships that have endured over the adult years tend to be deeper than those that have just been formed in middle adulthood

30 Grandparenting Many adults become grandparents during middle age
Grandmothers have more contact with grandchildren than grandfathers Three prominent meanings: Source of biological reward and continuity Source of emotional self-fulfillment Remote role The grandparent role and its functions vary among families, ethnic groups, and cultures

31 Grandparenting Three Grandparenting Styles:
Fun-seeking style Distant-figure style Formal style An increasing number of U.S. grandchildren live with their grandparents 2.3 million in 1980; 6.1 million in 2005 Most common reasons are divorce, adolescent pregnancies, and parental drug use Tends to be more stressful for younger grandparents, when grandchildren have physical and psychological problems, and when there is low family cohesion

32 Grandparenting Grandparents who take in grandchildren are in better health, are better educated, are more likely to be working outside the home, and are younger than grandparents who move in with their children Concern over grandparent visitation of children has become more common

33 Intergenerational Relationships
Middle-aged and older adults typically express a strong feeling of responsibility between generations in their family They share their experiences and transmit values to the younger generation Family members typically maintain considerable contact across generations When conflicts arise, parents most often cite habits and lifestyle choices, while adult children cite communication and interaction styles

34 Intergenerational Relationships
Differences in gender: Mothers and daughters have closer relationships during their adult years than mothers and sons, fathers and daughters, and fathers and sons Married men are more involved with their wives’ families than with their own Maternal aunts and grandmothers are cited as the most important or loved relative twice as often as their paternal counterparts

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