On October 23rd, 2014, we updated our
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refers to the idea that the stages of life, and the behaviors “appropriate” to them, are set by social standards rather than by biological maturation—for instance, ”middle age” begins when the culture believes it does, rather than at a particular age in all cultures
Ages and Stages
The “Midlife Crisis”
a period of unusual anxiety, radical reexamination, and sudden transformation that is widely associated with middle age but which actually has more to do with developmental history than with chronological age
The belief that all adults will at some point enter a midlife crisis is a myth.
Personal adjustment or lack of adjustment predicts entry into midlife crisis.
Emotional crisis is not age-related but can happen at any time of life.
It is a framework in which people begin to establish a sense of self. Mood and behavior is also predictable to a degree, based on personality.
Genes, parental practices, culture and adult experiences all contribute to personality.
Genetics (temperament) form the core of personality.
The Big Five
the five basic clusters of personality traits that remain quite stable throughout adulthood—openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism
the particular lifestyle and social context adults settle into that are compatible with their individual personality needs and interests
Ages and Stages
a tendency for men and women to become more similar as they move through middle age
Erikson proposed that intimacy as it is further developed paves the way for generativity.
intimacy needs are lifelong
adults meet their social needs for social connection with relatives, friends, coworkers, and romantic partners
collectively, the family members, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers who move through life with an individual
Adult siblings often become much closer to each other than they once were as children.
They often become part of that inner circle established for support, advise and the sharing of joy or sorrow.
a public commitment to one long-term sexual partner
adults seek committed sexual partnerships to help meet their needs for intimacy, to raise children, share resources, and provide care for eachother
Marriage and the u-shaped curve
a time in the lives of parents when their grown children leave the family home to pursue their own lives
Long term marriages
Secure relationships with parents pave the way for a secure and successful marriage.
everything that applies to heterosexual partners applies to homosexual partners who make a commitment to each other
marriages never ends in a vacuum—they are influenced by the social and political context
the power of the social context is evident in variations in divorce rates
Over the Years, Divorce and Remarriage
divorce is most likely to occur within the first five years
for long-term marriages, divorce is less likely but more devastating when it happens
Strong social network
Acceptance of divorce
Divorce adjustment and children
Role of parental child
Extended family support
after intimacy comes generativity,
generativity versus stagnation
when adults seek to be productive in a caring way, usually through work or parenthood (Erikson)
generativity comes with maturity–age is not a necessary marker
Caring for Children
bearing and raising children is labor intensive
Parenthood and grandparenthood often stimulate generative behavior
Caregiving for Aging Parents
a term for the generation of middle-aged people who are supposedly “squeezed” by the needs of the younger and older
it is crucial to learn how new work conditions support development—in the functions of family caregiving, personal creativity, satisfaction, and esteem and mentoring of other workers