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Unit Two
Early Adulthood
Approximately, age 20 is the beginning of early adulthood.
Age alone is not a good criterion for determining when young
adulthood begins. Maturity has been identified as the major
criterion of young adulthood. From the psychosocial
perspective, the time of entry into a new stage is based on a
convergence of experiences-including the accomplishments of
the previous stage, the resolution of the previous crisis, and the
beginning efforts to achieve the tasks of the new stage –rather
than on chronological age.
In contemporary society, one begins to experience adulthood as
several roles emerge, typically, those of worker, committed
partner, and parent. As the age of entry into marriage has
advanced over the past 20 years, the majority of young people in
the United States are unmarried in the age range of 20 to 24.
Students take an average of 5 to 6 years to complete college, and
young people seem to be involved in a longer period for job
experimentation before settling into their occupational career. All
of these factors argue for advancing approximate age of entry
into adulthood.
2.1 Characteristic of Early Adulthood
A. Early Adulthood is the "Settling-down Age“
B. Early Adulthood is the "Reproductive Age“
C. Early Adulthood is a "Problem Age“
D. Early Adulthood is a Period of Emotional Tension
E. Early Adulthood is a Period of Social Isolation
F. Early Adulthood is a time of commitments
G. Early Adulthood is often a Period of Dependency
H. Early Adulthood is a Time of Value Change
I. Early Adulthood is the Time of Adjustment to New
lifestyles
A. Early Adulthood is the "Settling-down Age"
Childhood and adolescence are the periods of "growing up"
and that adulthood is the time for "settling down:" , this means
when boys and girls reached the age of legal maturity, their days
of carefree freedom were over and the time had come to settle
down and assume the responsibilities of adult life. That meant
settling into a line of work.
B. Early Adulthood is the "Reproductive Age"
Parenthood is one of the most important roles in the lives of most
young adults. Those who were married during the latter years of
adolescence concentrate on the role of parenthood during their
twenties and early thirties; some become grandparents before
early adulthood ends.
C. Early Adulthood is a "Problem Age"
The early adult years present many new problems, different in their
major aspects, from the problems experienced in the earlier years
of life. With the lowering of the age of legal maturity to 18 years,
young adults have been confronted with many problems they are
totally unprepared to cope with. While they are now able to vote, to
own property, to marry without parental consent, and to do
many things young people could not do when the age of legal
maturity was twenty-one years, there is no question about the fact
that "this new-found freedom is creating unforeseen problems for
the youthful adults, and often for their parents, too".
why adjustment to the problems of adulthood is so difficult
First, very few young people have had any preparation for meeting the types of
problems they are expected to cope with as adults. Education in high school and
college provides only limited training for jobs, and few schools or colleges give
courses in the common problems of marriage and parenthood.
Second, just as trying to learn two or more skills simultaneously usually results
in not learning anyone of them well, so trying to adjust to two or more new
roles simultaneously usually results in poor adjustment to all of them. It is
difficult for a young adult to deal with the choice of a career and the choice of a
mate simultaneously. Similarly, adjustment to marriage and parenthood makes
it difficult for young adults to adjust to work if they marry while they are still
students.
Third, and perhaps most serious of all, young adults do not have
the help in meeting and solving their problems that they had
when they were younger. This is partly their own fault and partly
that of their parents and teachers. Most young adults are too
proud of their new status to admit that they cannot cope with it.
So, they do not seek the advice and help in meeting the problems
this new status gives rise to. Similarly, most parents and
teachers, having been rebuffed by adolescents who claimed they
were capable of handling their own affairs, hesitate to offer help
unless they are specifically asked to do so.
D. Early Adulthood is a Period of Emotional Tension
When people are trying to get the lay of a new land in
which they find themselves, they are likely to be
emotionally upset. When adults feel that they have not
been able to cope with the problems in the major areas
of their lives, they are often so emotionally disturbed
that they contemplate or attempt suicide.
E. Early Adulthood is a Period of Social Isolation
With the end of formal education and the entrance into
the adult life pattern of work and marriage,
associations with the peer groups of adolescence wane
and, with them, opportunities for social contacts
outside the home. As a result, for the first time since
babyhood even the most popular individual is likely to
experience social isolation, or what Erikson has
referred to as an "isolation crisis”.
F. Early Adulthood is a time of commitments
As young adults change their role from that of student and
dependent, characteristic of adolescence, to that of
independent adult, they
 establish new patterns of living,
 assume new responsibilities, and
 make new commitments.
While these new patterns of living, new responsibilities, and
new commitments may change later, they form the
foundations on which later patterns of living,
responsibilities, and commitments will be established.
G. Early Adulthood is often a Period of Dependency
In spite of achieving the status of legal adulthood at age
eighteen, with the independence this status carries, many
young adults are partially or totally dependent on others
for varying lengths of time. This dependency may be on
parents; on the educational institution they attend on part
or total scholarship, or on the government for loans to
finance their education. . As a result, their state of
dependency is often prolonged into the late twenties or
early thirties.
H. Early Adulthood is a Time of Value Change
Many of the values developed during childhood and adolescence
change as experience and social contact with people of different
ages broaden and as values are considered from a more mature
standpoint. Adults who used to consider school a necessary evil
may now recognize the value of education as a stepping-stone
to social and vocational success and to personal fulfillment.
As a result of such changed values, many adults who dropped
out of school or college decide to finish their education. Some
find studying so stimulating that they continue to take courses
even after receiving high school or college degrees.
I. Early Adulthood is the Time of Adjustment to New
lifestyles
• While lifestyles have been in a state of flux since
the turn of the present century, at no period in the
life span is this truer than in early adulthood. And
in no area of early adult life are new lifestyles
more prevalent than in the areas of marriage
and parenthood.
2.2 Developmental Tasks of Early Adulthood
 Selecting a mate
 Achieving a masculine or feminine social role
 Learning to live with a marriage partner
 Starting a family
 Rearing children
 Managing a home
 Getting started in an occupation
 Taking on civic responsibility
 Finding a congenial (pleasant and best suited to own interest)
social group
2.3 Diversity of Adult Lifestyles
• Today, non- traditional family options have penetrated.
Many adults experience not just one, but several options.
Some adults make a deliberate decision to adopt a
lifestyle, whereas others drift into it. The lifestyle may be
imposed by society, as is the case for cohabiting
homosexual couples, who cannot marry legally. Or
people may decide on a certain lifestyle because they feel
pushed away from another, such as a marriage gone sour.
In sum, the adoption of a lifestyle can be within or
beyond the person's control.
Singlehood
 Singlehood-not living with an intimate partner-has increased in
recent years, especially among young adults. Besides more people
marrying later or not at all, divorce has added to the numbers of
single adults. In view of these trends, it is likely that most will
spend a substantial part of their adult lives single.
 Because they marry later, more young adult men than women are
single. But women are far more likely than men to remain single
for many years or their entire life. With age, fewer men are
available with characteristics that most women seek in a mate-the
same age or older, equally or better educated, and professionally
successful
Singlehood cont…
 Of the various advantages of singlehood, those mentioned most
are freedom and mobility. But singles also recognize
drawbacks-loneliness, the dating grind, limited sexual and
social life, reduced sense of security, and feelings of exclusion
from the world of married couples.
 Single men have more physical and mental health problems
than single women, who usually come to terms with their lifestyle.
The greater social support available to women through
intimate same-sex friendships is partly responsible. In
addition, never-married men are more likely to have conflict-
ridden family backgrounds and personal characteristics that
contribute to both their singlehood and their adjustment difficulties.
Cohabitation
 Cohabitation refers to the lifestyle of unmarried couples who have an
intimate, sexual relationship and share a residence.
 Until the 1960s, cohabitation in Western nations was largely limited to low-
SES adults. Since then, it has increased in all groups, with an especially
dramatic rise among well-educated, economically advantaged young people.
 Like singlehood, cohabitation has different meanings. For some, it serves as
preparation for marriage-a time to test the relationship and get used to
living together. For others, it is an alternative to marriage--an arrangement
that offers the rewards of sexual intimacy and companionship along with the
possibility of easy departure if satisfaction declines. In view of this
variation, it is not surprising that cohabiters differ greatly in the extent to
which they share money and possessions and take responsibility for each
other's children.
Childlessness
Some people are involuntarily childless because they
did not find a partner with whom to share parenthood or
their efforts at fertility treatments did not succeed.
There are couples who choose not to have children as a
matter of fact that voluntary childlessness is not
always a permanent condition. A few people decide
early that they do not want to be parents and stick to
these plans. But most make their decision after they are
married and have developed a lifestyle they do not want
to give up. Later, some change their minds.
 Besides marital satisfaction and freedom from child-care
responsibilities, common reasons for not having children
include the woman's career and economic security.
Consistent with these motives, the voluntarily childless are
usually college educated, have prestigious occupations, and are
highly committed to their work.
 Many were only or first-born children whose parents encouraged
achievement and independence. In cultures that negatively
stereotype childlessness, it is not surprising that voluntarily
childless women are more self-reliant and assertive.
Divorce and Remarriage
Divorce rates have increased as financial
instability increased and marital satisfaction has
decreased.
Divorces are also common during the transition to
midlife, when people have teenage children-a period
of low marital satisfaction. About three-fourths of
divorced people remarry. But marital failure is even
greater during the first few years of second
marriages.
Factors Related to Divorce
• The most obvious reason for failure of marriage is a disrupted husband-
wife relationship. The problem-solving style could be ineffective. Another
typical style involves little conflict, but partners increasingly lead separate lives
because they have different expectations of family life and few shared
interests, activities, or friends.
• Wives reported more problems than husbands, with the gender difference
largely involving the wife's emotions, such as anger, hurt feelings, and
moodiness. Husbands seemed to have difficulty sensing their wife's
distress, which contributed to her view of the marriage as unhappy.
• Regardless of which spouse reported the problem or was judged responsible
for it, the strongest predictors of divorce were infidelity, spending money
foolishly, drinking or using drugs, expressing jealousy, engaging in
irritating habits, and moodiness.
Consequences of Divorce
• Immediately after separation, both men and women are
depressed and anxious and display impulsive behavior. For most,
these reactions subside within 2 years. Women who were in
traditional marriages and who organized their identities around their
husbands have an especially hard time.
• A few women-- especially those who are anxious and fearful or
who remain strongly attached to their ex-spouses-show a drop in
self-esteem, become depressed, and tend to form repeated
unsuccessful relationships. Job training, continued education,
career advancement, and social support from family and friends
play vital roles in the economic and psychological wellbeing of
divorced women.
Remarriage
• On average, people remarry within 4 years of divorce, men somewhat
faster than women. For several reasons, remarriages are especially vulnerable
to breakup.
First, although people often remarry for love, practical matters-financial
security, help in rearing children, relief from loneliness, and social acceptance-
figure more heavily into a second marriage than a first. These concerns do not
provide a sound footing for a lasting partnership.
Second, some people transfer the negative patterns of interaction and problem
solving learned in their first marriage to the second.
Third, people who have already had a failed marriage are more likely to view
divorce as an acceptable solution when marital difficulties resurface.
And finally, remarried couples experience more stress from step family
situations.
Variant Styles of Parenthood
• Diverse family forms result in varied styles of
parenthood. Among these are a growing number of
cohabiting and remarried parents, never-married parents,
and gay and lesbian parents. Each type of family presents
unique challenges to parenting competence and adult
psychological well-being.
A. Stepparents: Whether stepchildren live in the
household or visit only occasionally, stepparents are in a
difficult position. Since the parent-child tie predates the
blended family, the stepparent enters as an outsider
Stepparents frequently criticize the biological parent
for being too lenient. The parent, in turn, tends to view the
stepparent as too harsh. These differences can divide the
couple. Remarried parents typically report higher levels of
tension and disagreement than first marriage parents, most
centering on child-rearing issues. Because of more
opportunities for conflict, relationship quality is poorer
when both adults have children from prior marriages than
when only one does.
Stepmothers, especially, are likely to experience conflict.
Expected to be in charge of family relationships, they quickly
find that stepparent-stepchild ties do not develop instantly.
Often mothers are jealous, uncooperative, and possessive of
their children following divorce.
B. Never-Married Single Parents:
• Single adults occasionally decide to become parents on their own.
Births to women in high-status occupations who have not married by
their thirties have increased. However, they are still few in number,
and little is known about how these mothers and their children fare.
• Children of never-married mothers who lack the involvement of a
father are poor in school and display more antisocial behavior than
children in low-SES, first-marriage families. These adjustment
problems make life more difficult for mothers. Strengthening social
support, education, and employment opportunities for low-SES
parents would encourage marriage as well as help unmarried-mother
families.
C. Gay and lesbian Parents:
• Several million American gay men and lesbians are parents, most
through previous heterosexual marriages, a few through adoption or
reproductive technologies. In the past, laws assuming that
homosexuals could not be adequate parents led those who divorced a
heterosexual partner to lose custody of their children.
• Gay and lesbian parents are as committed to and effective at
child rearing as heterosexual parents. Some evidence suggests that
gay fathers are more consistent in setting limits and more responsive
to their children's needs than heterosexual fathers, perhaps because
gay men's less traditional gender identity fosters involvement with
children.
• In lesbian families, quality of mother-child interaction is as
positive as in heterosexual families. And children of lesbian mothers
regard their mother's partner as very much a parent. Whether born to
or adopted by their parents or conceived through donor insemination,
children in homosexual families are as well-adjusted as other
children. Also, the large majority are heterosexual. When extended-
family members have difficulty accepting them, homosexual mothers
and fathers often build "families of choice" through friends, who
assume the roles of relatives. But most of the time, parents of gays
and lesbians cannot endure a permanent rift. With time, interactions
between homosexual parents and their families of origin become
more positive and supportive.
2.4 Physical, Cognitive, Psychosocial Changes in Early
Adulthood
2.4.1 Physical changes
• Early adulthood is, for most people, the time of peak
physical capacity. The body reaches full height by the
late teens, and physical strength increases into the late 20s
and early 30s.
• In general, people in early adulthood feel robust and
energetic, although it is not unusual to see
fluctuations around deadlines and exam periods.
• On the other hand, people in this age group are also legally able to
use damaging substances, such as alcohol and tobacco. Young adults
also have increasing responsibility for organizing their own eating
habits and exercise regimes. The young adult years are often referred
to as the peak years. Young adults experience excellent health,
vigor, and physical functioning. Young adults have not yet been
subjected to age-related physical deterioration, such as wrinkles,
weakened body systems, and reduced lung and heart capacities.
• Their strength, coordination, reaction time, sensation, fine motor
skills, and sexual response are at a maximum.
• Additionally, both young men and women enjoy the benefits of
society’s emphasis on youthfulness. They typically look and feel
attractive and sexually appealing. Young men may have healthy skin,
all or most of their hair, and well-defined muscles. Young women
may have soft and supple skin, a small waistline, and toned legs,
thighs, and buttocks. Health and physical fitness during young
adulthood are excellent.
Cont…
• People in their 20s and 30s perform at exceedingly high
levels on tests of endurance and stamina. They generally
are at their best in terms of physical conditioning and
overall sense of well-being.
• Death rates during young adulthood are lower than
during any other period of the life span. Except for HIV
/AIDS in males and malignancies in females, the leading
cause of death during the 20s and 30s is accidents. Death
rates, however, double during each decade after age 35.
2.4.2 Cognitive changes
• By the end of adolescence, most people are capable of
the levels of reasoning that we would expect for normal
functioning in adult society. Although there are wide
individual differences in attainment, most young adults
are able to deal with cognitive tasks in a more abstract way
than before, and to attain solutions to problems by
comparing possible explanations.
• Many young adults—particularly those who have attended
college—develop the ability to reason logically, solve theoretical
problems, and think abstractly. They have reached Piaget’s formal
operations stage of cognitive development. During this stage,
individuals can also classify and compare objects and ideas,
systematically seek solutions to problems, and consider future
possibilities. As young adults confront and work through the gray
areas of life, some may go on to develop post formal thinking, or
practical street smarts. Developing the wisdom associated with
post formal thinking is a lifelong process, which begins in the
teenage years and is fully realized in the older adult years
Most young adults aged 18 and over will:
Move into adult roles and responsibilities and may
learn a trade, work, and/or pursue higher education
Fully understand abstract concepts and be aware of
consequences and personal limitations
Identify career goals and prepare to achieve them
Secure their autonomy and build and test their
decision making skills
Develop new skills, hobbies, and adult interests
2.4.3 Psychosocial development
• Young adulthood is a time when many difficult
decisions need to made. These decisions will affect the
person for the rest of his life they make decision for
themselves, which influence their life-style in their
future. They must make choices about: Education,
occupation, to marry or remain single, starting a
home, children rearing, forming new friendships, &
assuming certain community activities.
• Psychosocial development in adulthood consists of changes
in lifestyles and relationships. According to Erikson, the
primary task of early adulthood is to establish identity and
intimacy (sharing one’s total self with someone else) after
wrestling with the intimacy versus isolation psychosocial crisis,
which poses commitment to others opposite the possibility of
self-absorption. Much psychosocial development occurring
during this period is in conjunction with significant life changes,
such as leaving home, finding a long-term romantic relationship,
beginning a career, and starting a family.
• An important aspect of establishing intimacy with a
partner is first being able to separate from the family of
origin, or family of procreation. Most young adults have
familial attachments from which they are separating. This
process normally begins during Daniel Levinson’s early
adult transition (ages 17–22), when many young adults
first leave home to attend college or to take a job in
another city.
2.5 Personal and Social Hazards in Early Adulthood
A. Physical Hazards: refers to physical defects and poor health. Individual
with such problems cannot achieve what they aspire. This is usually
followed by stress. Unattractive physical appearance also hurts the
individual social competence.
B. Social Hazards: They also face social adjustment problems. The most
common one include difficulty in associating oneself, inability to develop
friendly relationships and dissatisfaction with the roles the social group
expects the individual to play.
C. Social Mobility: is also another hazard of adjustment. That is, one who
moves either side faces new social norms and values to adjust with. He/she
is expected to do so. Inability to adjust is often followed by stress.
2.6 Vocational and Family Adjustments in Early Adulthood
• Early adulthood is a period of adjustments to new patterns of life
and new social expectations. The young adult is expected to play new
roles, such as that of spouse, parent, and breadwinner, and to develop
new attitudes, interests, and values in keeping with these new roles.
These adjustments make early adulthood a distinctive period in the
life span and also a difficult one. It is especially difficult because,
until now, most boys and girls have had someone parents, teachers,
friends or others-to help them make the adjustments they are faced
with. Now, as adults, they are expected to make these adjustments for
themselves. To avoid being considered "immature," they hesitate to
turn to others for advice and help when they find the adjustments too
difficult to cope with successfully alone.
2.6.1 Vocational adjustments
• In young adulthood, a person’s career or job can become a
significant part of a person’s self-identity. Often a person’s self-
definition is related to what he or she does. Levinson (1978) describes
the process of young adults entering an occupation whereby they must
develop an occupational identity and establish themselves in the work
world. Each job carries with it a set of components that must be adapted
for successful adjustment in the workplace.
• Newman and Newman (1995) describe these components: The use
of technical skills; the development of authority relations; adapting to
special demands and hazards; and the development of interpersonal
relationship with peers. As young adults make important inroads in their
career, they must also be starting a family.
• Achieving a balance among one’s career, leisure and family
life is a developmental task that needs to be addressed during
this period.
• The psychological importance of what people do varies, and it
is important to understand the difference between a job and a
career. Many people pursue a job in order to earn a living.
Therefore; their job may not have much value for them from a
psychological perspective. Other people pursue a career more as
a way of life .Their career may have significant value to them
because it is a central aspect of their life.
2.6.2 Marital adjustments
• There are many sources of tension in a new marriage. If the
partners do not have similar, religious, educational, or social
class backgrounds, they will not have to compromise on many
value decisions. Assumed shared value orientation, certain life
style decisions can generate tension. The couple must establish a
mutually satisfying sexual relationship. They must also work out
an agreement about saving and spending money. As part of
adjustment to marriage, the partners must achieve a sense of
psychological commitment to each other. There is a period of
testing in every marriage, during which each partner is likely to
put strain on the relationship to see how strong it really is.
2.6.3 Adjustment to parenthood
• During early adulthood, the issue of reproduction is confronted
many times. Young adults make choices to delay parenting, have an
abortion, have a child, wait before having another child, or stop
having children altogether. Many parents undergo difficult and
expensive procedures to conceive a child. Others who are unable to
conceive decide to adopt children. Some adults become foster parents,
whether or not they have children of their own. Even unplanned
pregnancies are the products of some kind of decision making,
whether to have sexual relationship knowing that pregnancy is
possible, to avoid using effective means of birth control, to abort the
pregnancy or to carry the child to term.
• In contemporary societies, decisions about childbearing
are made in the context of other personal and family
goals and commitments. Factors such as religious
beliefs, career aspirations, ideals about family life, and
social expectations in the family and culture all
contribute to a couple’s commitment to bearing children
and the timing of the first and subsequent pregnancies.
Cultures differ in the norms and expectations they
convey about the value of having children as well as the
appropriate timing and frequency of pregnancies
2.6.4 Vocational and Marital Hazards during Early Adulthood
• Young adults have experienced different hazards related to their career and family
formation. Some of the common marital and vocational hazards are listed below:
• Marital Hazards:-
• Adjustment to a mate
• Role changes
• Parenthood
• Relationship with In-Laws
• Hazards of Singlehood
• Hazards of divorce
• Hazards of Remarriage
• Vocational Hazards
• Job Dissatisfaction
• Unemployment
UNIT THREE
3. Middle Adulthood(ጎልማሳ)
Characteristics of middle age
• As Middle Adulthood is a long period in the life span,
it is customarily subdivided into Early Middle
Adulthood, which extends from age 40 to age 50, and
Advanced Middle Adulthood, which extends from age
50 to age 60. During advanced Middle Adulthood,
physical and psychological changes that first began
during the early forties become far more apparent(open)
Characteristics of middle age
1. Middle Adulthood is a Time of Stress
2. Middle Adulthood is a "Dangerous Age"
3. Middle Adulthood is an "Awkward Age"
4. Middle Adulthood is a Time of Achievement
5. Middle Adulthood is a Time of Evaluation
6. Middle Adulthood is the Time of the Empty Nest
7. Middle Adulthood is a Time of Boredom
1. Middle Adulthood is a Time of Stress
• Categories of Stress in Middle Adulthood are:-
A. Somatic stress, which is due to physical evidences of aging
B. Cultural stress, stemming from the high value placed on
youth, vigor, and success by the cultural group
C. Economic stress, resulting from the financial burden of
educating children and providing status symbols for all
family members
D. Psychological stress, which may be the result of the death
of a spouse, the departure of children from the home,
boredom with marriage, or a sense of lost youth and
approaching death.
2. Middle Adulthood is a "Dangerous Age"
• The usual way of interpreting "dangerous age" is in
terms of the male who wants to have a last fling in life,
especially in his sex life, before old age catches up with
him. It is a time when individuals break down
physically as a result of overwork, over worry, or
careless living. The incidence of mental illness rises
rapidly in Middle Adulthood among both men and
women, and it is also a peak age for suicides,
especially among men.
3. Middle Adulthood is an "Awkward Age"
Just as adolescents are neither children nor adults, so
middle-aged men and women are no longer "young" nor
are they yet "old." The middle-aged person "stands
between the younger 'Rebel Generation' and the 'Senior
Citizen Generation'-both of which is continuously in the
spotlight and suffers from the discomforts and
embarrassments associated with both age groups.
4. Middle Adulthood is a Time of Achievement
• According to Erikson, it is a crisis age in which either
"Generativity" -the tendency to produce-or "stagnation" -the
tendency to stand still-will dominate. People either become more
and more successful or they stand still and accomplish nothing
more. If middle-aged people have a strong desire to succeed, they
will reach their peak at this time and reap the benefits of the years
of preparation and hard work that preceded it. Women, like men,
who have worked throughout the years of early adulthood,
generally reach their peak during Middle Adulthood. However, this
peak, until very recently, was far below that of male workers.
5. Middle Adulthood is a Time of Evaluation
• As it is the peak age of achievement, it is logical that it also
would be the time when they would evaluate their
accomplishments in light of their earlier aspirations and the
expectations of others, especially family members and friends.
As a result of this self-evaluation, Archer has pointed out, "The
mid-years seem to require the development of a different,
generally more realistic sense of who one is . . In growing up,
everyone nurtures fantasies or illusions about what one is, and
what one will do. A major task of the mid-life decade involves
coming to terms with those fantasies and illusions".
6. Middle Adulthood is the Time of the Empty Nest
• The time when the children no longer want to live under the
parental roof. Except in cases where men and women marry later than
the average age, or postpone having their children until they are well
established in their careers, or have large families spread out over a
decade or more of time, Middle Adulthood is the "empty nest" stage
in marital lives. After years of living in a family-centered home, most
adults find it difficult to adjust to a pair-centered home. This is
because, during the child-rearing years, husbands and wives often
grew apart and developed individual interests. As a result, they have
little in common after mutual interests in their children wane and
when they are thrown together to adjust to each other the best they
can.
7. Middle Adulthood is a Time of Boredom
• Many, if not most, men and women experience
boredom during the late thirties and forties. Men
become bored with the daily routine of work and with
a family life that offers little excitement. Women, who
have spent most of their adulthood caring for the home
and raising children, wonder what they will do for the
next twenty or thirty years. The unmarried woman
who has devoted her life to a job or career is bored for
the same reason men are.
Developmental Tasks of Middle Age
• Each adult typically engages in all of the developmental
tasks such as managing a career, nurturing, intimate
relationships, and managing the household. Though their
roles in the family, in the work place, and in the
community, middle adults have broad responsibilities for
the nurturance, education, and care of children,
adolescents, young adults, and older adults. The strains of
middle adulthood result largely from difficulties in
balancing many roles and striving to navigate through
predictable as well as sudden role transitions.
Developmental Tasks of Middle Age
1. Adjusting to physical and physiological changes
2. Adjusting to the reality of the work situation
3. Assuring economic security for old age
4. . Maintaining contact with children and grandchildren
5. Reorganizing living arrangements
6. Adjusting to being a couple again
7. Participating in the community
8. Ensuring adequate medical supervision for old age
9. Looking after ageing parents
1. Adjusting to physical and physiological changes
• In mid-life, people start or increase their doctors’ visits
for injuries that take longer to heal or for recurrent or
worrisome symptoms. Many of these symptoms are
reminders of the aging process, including facial wrinkles,
graying or loss of hair, reading glasses, and sleep
disorders. There may be weight management issues,
especially when obesity is linked with food intolerances
and diseases, such as coronary artery disease,
hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemias, and joint
degeneration.
2. Adjusting to the reality of the work situation
• Mid-life is often a period for vocational evaluation. There may
be sadness about not having advanced far enough in career
objectives. There may be fear of being replaced by a younger,
more capable person. Middle-agers may feel regret about the
emphasis on vocation instead of family. Retirement issues will
be evaluated. For women who combined motherhood with their
career, there may be a fatigue factor derived from a hectic
“superwoman” lifestyle. In contrast, for women who deferred
their career until later in life, there may be a desire to work
harder in order to catch up to friends and colleagues.
3. Assuring economic security for old age
• There is an accentuated focus on financial planning. Middle-
agers are anxious about planning for future living expenses.
• They are worried about inflation eroding their life savings and
about possible future illness in themselves or family members
(with expenses for medication, home care, paramedical services,
specialized housing needs, etc.). Changing taxation structures
may affect disposable income, and pensions may not be adequate
to meet the need. Premature or forced retirement, job closures or
lay-offs may limit personal goals, financial security or desired
lifestyle.
4. Maintaining contact with children and grandchildren
• The reality of grandchildren touches grandparents
differently and affects their comfort in their role as
grandparents and the style and depth of their involvement in
this role. Grandchildren growing up in other locales may have
less contact with their grandparents - who in turn may find this
situation difficult to accept. Irrespective of where each child
lives, there may be friction between a grandparent and his or
her own adult child over common issues in child rearing.
5. Reorganizing living arrangements
The departure of grown children from the family home
may eliminate the need for existing space. Parents may
need to move into a smaller home. These changes may
elicit emotional loss of property or moments reflective
of past family life together.
6. Adjusting to being a couple again
• Emotional and physical intimacies are commonly found in
newlyweds. This intimacy may decrease over years of marriage,
as children, recreational activities and vocational obligations
compete for time. Consequently, the “empty nest” situation may
challenge the couple’s relationship since the absence of children
as diversions may reveal changes in one or both members of the
couple. A loss of intimacy may also be accentuated. A challenge
exists to re-establish a relationship as a “twosome” by exploring
communication and lifestyle needs and patterns. Failure to take
on this challenge may lead to quarrels, sexual dysfunction, and
extramarital affairs and, in some cases, divorce.
7. Participating in the community
• In the middle age period, women, especially homemakers, appear
to be more involved in community activities than men. With the
recent trend towards both men and women working outside home,
there is a concern that community voluntarism will suffer.
8. Ensuring adequate medical supervision for old age
• In mid-life, there may be new or growing anxieties about health
and aging. The extent of this concern may be related to whether one
is a realist, pessimist or optimist. There is generally an increase in
doctor visits as a reassurance that there is a medical system in place
that can respond to their medical problems.
9. Looking after aging parents
• Healthier lifestyles, more efficient drugs and improved
technology have extended lifespan. Middle-aged people are often
torn between the needs of their children and their elderly parents.
They assist the latter with food shopping, housekeeping, banking
and finance, laundry, bathing and hygiene, transportation, and
provide accompaniment to medical appointments, and medication
supervision or administration.
3.3. Major Adjustment in Middle age
1. Adjustment to physical changes & changed
interests
2. Adjustment to Mental Changes
3. Social Adjustments
Adjustment to physical changes & changed interests
• the body organ of most persons show a 0.8 to 1% decline
per year in the functional ability after the age of 30.
• Part of this decline is normal, some is disease-related,
and some is caused by factors such as stress,
occupational status, nutritional status and many other
environmental factors. Although no longer at the peak
level of their young adult years, middle-aged adults still
report good health and physical functioning. However,
as a result of the passage of time, middle adults undergo
various physical changes.
• Decades of exposure and use take their toll on the body
as wrinkles develop, organs no longer function as
efficiently as they once did, and lung and heart
capacities decrease.
• Other changes include decreases in strength,
coordination, reaction time, sensation (sight, hearing,
taste, smell, touch), and fine motor skills
• Also common among middle adults are the conditions
of presbyopia (farsightedness or difficulty reading) and
presbycusis (difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds).
• Still, none of these changes is usually so dramatic that
the middle adult cannot compensate by wearing glasses
to read, taking greater care when engaging in complex
motor tasks, driving more carefully, or slowing down at
the gym.
• Of course, people age at different rates, so some 40 year
olds may feel middle-aged long before their 50-year-old
counterparts. Most people, however, describe feeling
that they have reached midlife by their mid-50s.
• The bio-psychosocial changes that accompany
midlife—specifically, menopause (እርጣት) (the
cessation of menstruation) in women and the male
climacteric (male menopause) in men—appear to be
major turning points in terms of the decline that
eventually typifies older adulthood. None of the
biological declines of middle and late adulthood needs
to be an obstacle to enjoying all aspects of life,
including sex.
Sexuality in Middle Adulthood
• As people age, they may experience physical
changes, illnesses, or emotional upheavals, such as
the loss of a partner, that can lead to a decline in
sexual interest and behavior. In women, there is a
gradual decline in the function of the ovaries and in
the production of estrogen. The average age at
which menopause (the end of the menstrual cycle)
occurs is about 50. Decreased estrogen leads to
thinning of the vaginal walls, shrinking of the
vagina and labia majora, and decreased vaginal
lubrication. These conditions can be severe enough
to cause the woman pain during intercourse.
• Women who were sexually active either through
intercourse or through masturbation before menopause
and who continue sexual activity after menopause are
less likely to experience vaginal problems. Women can
use hormone-replacement therapy or hormone-
containing creams to help maintain vaginal health.
• In men, testosterone production declines over the years,
and the testes become smaller. The volume and force of
ejaculation decrease and sperm count is reduced, but
viable sperm may still be produced in elderly men.
• Erection takes longer to attain, and the time after
orgasm during which erection cannot occur (the
refractory period) increases. Medications and vascular
disease, diabetes, and other medical conditions can
cause erectile dysfunction.
• The middle years can often lead to problems for
marital couples who do not understand some of the
changes they are going through during the middle
years. Maggie Scarf (1992), notes the different
physical changes that men and women go through
during the middle years.
• A man’s aging crisis can be related to the pressure
he feels “to make it” and a woman’s aging crisis can
be related to concerns and anxiety she feels about
her physical appearance. These changes have direct
implications for their sexual relationship. Scarf
describes how such changes affect the sexual
response cycle, which includes three phases:
desire, excitement, and orgasm.
1. desire, being sexually motivated, can be affected by aging.
example, the side effects of diseases ( diabetes or
hyperthyroidism), of psychological difficulties,
(depression) or of medical concerns (hypertension) that
require drug treatment can all negatively affect desire. In
general overtime, the sex drive declines, particularly for
men. The male sex drive is also affected by a drop in
testosterone, the male hormone.
2. Excitement, the second phase; of sexual response cycle is
the first physiological reaction to stimulations and results
in blood engorgement of the genitals.
3. The orgasm, also changes dramatically, with age primarily
in the area known as the refractory period-the time
between one orgasm and the physical capability to achieve
another orgasm.
• For the middle life woman, the sexual profile is quite
different.
• Indeed, erotic interest often increases in the desire phase,
primarily in response to changes to her biological makeup. When
estrogen, the female hormone, declines, it allows her
testosterone to have more of an influence. During menopause,
the ovaries continue to produce small amounts of testosterone,
and given the decline of estrogen, the effect of the testosterone is
greater, leading to increased sexual desire.
• However, in the excitement phase, lack of estrogen often leads
to problems with vaginal dryness.
Menopause
• Menopause is permanent ending of menstruation in
women. Menopause marks the end of a woman’s natural
ability to bear children. Menopause is usually preceded
by 10 to 15 years during which the ovaries gradually stop
producing eggs and sex hormones, a period called the
climacteric. Perimenopause compasses this period of
changing ovarian activity and also the first few years
without menstrual cycling, typically characterized by
hormonal and physical changes and sometimes emotional
and psychological changes as well.
• In the USA most women experience menopause in their
late 40s or early 50s—about half by age 51. Menopause
before age 35 is called premature menopause and may
occur because of certain diseases, autoimmune
reactions (in which the body’s immune defenses attack
the body’s own cells, tissues, or organs), surgery,
medical. Menopause occurs when a woman has not
experienced a menstrual cycle for one year. Attitudes
towards this event vary depending on cultural
connotations and women’s individual expectations. In
societies where women’s role is mostly reproductive
inability to bear any more children is a loss of status.
• In cultures in which the wisdom and experience of older
women is valued, menopause is seen as a positive life
event. In general, young women and men view
menopause more negatively whereas women who have
gone through the experience view it more positively.
• Individually, some women view the cessation of their
monthly period as a sign of impending old age and
mourn the loss of youth and beauty. Other women, are
glad to be rid of it.
Signs and Symptoms
• The experience of menopause differs among women,
depending on d/c in diet and nutrition, general health and health
care, and even how women are taught to think about menopause.
Not all women experience symptoms. All physical symptoms should
be discussed with a health-care provider to rule out potential causes
other than approaching menopause. For a number of years before
menopause women may notice longer menstrual periods, heavier
menstrual flow, spotting, or irregularity. Hormone pills or low-dose
birth control pills may be prescribed to control bleeding problems.
• Hot flashes or hot flushes range from a passing feeling of warmth
in the face and upper body to extreme sweating and visible redness
of the skin followed by chills. Heart palpitations and feelings of
suffocation can also occur. As estrogen levels decline, the vaginal
walls become less elastic and thinner. Vaginal secretions are
reduced and are less acidic, increasing the chances for vaginal
infections. Insufficient vaginal lubrication during sexual
activity can make intercourse uncomfortable or painful. Some
women report a decreased interest in sex and a decline in
sexual activity with menopause that are not due to vaginal
problems.
• Psychological symptoms may include depression, mood
swings, weepiness, and other emotional flare-ups, as
well as memory lapses. Although declining levels of
estrogen may play a role in these symptoms, a number
of other factors and stresses need to be considered as
well. Excess alcohol, caffeine, or sugar may stress the
adrenal glands and decrease the amount of adrenal
androgens available for conversion to estrogen, thereby
lowering estrogen and making menopausal symptoms
worse. Smoking decreases estrogen production by the
ovaries, leading to earlier menopause and osteoporosis.
Stressful life events that may contribute to the
emotional symptoms at the time of menopause include
children leaving home and caring for aging
Sexual Dysfunctions
• Sexual dysfunctions are problems with sexual
response that cause distress. Erectile dysfunction
(impotence) refers to the inability of a man to have or
maintain an erection. Premature ejaculation occurs when a
man is not able to postpone or control his ejaculation.
Inhibited male orgasm, or retarded ejaculation, occurs
when a man cannot have an orgasm despite being highly
aroused.
Female orgasmic dysfunction
• Female orgasmic dysfunction (Anorgasmia or inhibited
female orgasm) refers to the inability of a woman to have an
orgasm. Orgasmic dysfunction may be primary, meaning
that the woman has never experienced an orgasm;
secondary, meaning that the woman has had orgasms in the
past but cannot have them now; or situational, meaning
that she has orgasms in some situations but not in others.
• Vaginismus refers to a spastic contraction of the outer third
of the vagina, a condition that can close the entrance of the
vagina, preventing intercourse.
• Dyspareunia refers to painful intercourse in either women or
men.
• Low sexual desire is a lack of interest in sexual activity.
• Discrepant sexual desire refers to a condition in which partners
have considerably different levels of sexual interest. These
dysfunctions may be caused by physical problems such as fatigue or
illness; the use of prescription medications, other drugs, or alcohol;
or psychological factors, including learned inhibition of sexual
response, anxiety, interfering thoughts, spectatoring (observing
and judging one's own sexual performance), lack of communication
between partners, insufficient or ineffective sexual stimulation, and
relationship conflicts.
Adjustment to Mental Changes
• Middle-age adult thinking differs significantly from that of
adolescents and young adults. Adults are typically more focused in
specific directions, having gained insight and understanding from life
events that adolescents and young adults have not yet experienced.
No longer viewing the world from an absolute and fixed perspective,
middle adults have learned how to make compromises, question the
establishment, and work through disputes. Younger people, on the
hand, may still look for definitive answers. Many middle-age adults
have attained Piaget’s stage of formal operations, which is
characterized by the ability to think abstractly, reason logically, and
solve theoretical problems.
• Instead, middle adults may develop and employ post-
formal thinking, which is characterized by the
objective use of practical common sense to deal with
unclear problems. An example of post-formal thinking
is the middle adult who knows from experience how to
maneuver through rules and regulations and play the
system at the office. Another example is the middle
adult who accepts the reality of contradictions in his or
her religion, as opposed to the adolescent who expects a
concrete truth in an infallible set of religious doctrines
and rules.
• Post-formal thinking begins late in adolescence and
culminates in the practical wisdom so often associated
with older adulthood.
Post formal thought
• During the formal operational stage, teens use their
considerable reasoning abilities to solve problems, but they are
very likely to generate a single solution as opposed to multiple
solutions. Disagreement with their solution is usually interpreted
by teens to mean that their solution is somehow incorrect.
• Formal-operational thinking is absolute, and involves
making decisions based on personal experience and logic. Post-
formal thinking is more complex, and involves making decisions
based on situational constraints and circumstances, and
integrating emotion with logic to form context-dependent
principles.
Criticisms of Formal Operations
1. Formal operations overemphasizes the power of pure logic in
problem solving
2. Formal operations underemphasizes the pragmatic quality of
real life cognitive activity and cannot sever cognition from
affective, social, and pragmatic ties
3. Formal thinking is only suited for the problems that call for
scientific thinking and logical mathematical analyses
 Piaget assumed - goal of mature adult to think like a scientist
 Does not apply to real-life social or interpersonal problems
4. Formal operations is geared for the solution of closed system,
well-defined problems - needs controllable, specific variables ,
implies single correct solutions and real life - unlimited number
of uncontrollable, changeable, and ill-defined variables
5. Formal operations does not recognize the relative nature of
knowledge and the need to adopt multiple frames of reference
Characteristics of Post Formal Thought
1. Post formal thinkers possess an understanding of the
relative, non-absolute nature of knowledge
• Relativistic thinking
2. Accept contradiction as a basic aspect of reality
3. Post formal thinkers capable of dialectic reasoning
• able to synthesize contradictory thoughts, emotions,
and experiences
4. A contextual approach to problem solving
• solve problems by continuously creating new principles
based on changing circumstance
• instead of set principles applied to all contexts
5. Post formal thinking tends to be domain-specific
• people use in some but not all areas
Social Adjustments
• In all age groups, friends are a healthy alternative to family and
acquaintances. Friends offer support, direction, guidance, and a change
of pace from usual routines. Many young adults manage to maintain at
least some friendships in spite of the time constraints caused by family,
school, and work; however, finding time to maintain friendships
becomes more difficult for middle adults. During this period, life
responsibilities are at an all-time high, so having extra time for
socializing is usually rare. For this reason, middle adults may have less
friends than their newlywed and retired counterparts. Yet where
quantity of friendships may be lacking, quality predominates. Some of
the closest ties between friends are formed and nourished during
middle adulthood.
Personality Theories and Development
1. Adult Stages Theories
2. The Life-Events Approach
1. Adult Stages Theories
• Adult stage theories have been plentiful, and they
have contributed to the view that midlife brings a
crisis in development. Two prominent theories that
define stages of adult development are Erik Erikson’s
life-span view and Daniel Levinson’s seasons of a
man’s life.
Erikson’s Stage of Generativity Versus Stagnation
• Erikson proposed that middle-aged adults face a significant
issue generativity versus stagnation, which is the name
Erikson gave to the seventh stage in his life-span theory.
• Generativity encompasses adults’ desire to leave legacies of
themselves to the next generation. Through these legacies
adults achieve a kind of immortality. By contrast, stagnation (
“self-absorption”) develops when individuals sense that they
have done nothing for the next generation.
Levinson’s Seasons of a Man’s Life
• Although Levinson’s major interest focused on midlife change, he
described a number of stages and transitions during the period from 17 to
65 years of age. Levinson emphasizes that developmental tasks must
be mastered at each stage. At the end of one’s teens, according to
Levinson, a transition from dependence to independence should
occur. This transition is marked by the formation of a dream an
image of the kind of life the youth wants to have, especially in terms
of a career and marriage. Levinson sees the twenties as a novice
phase of adult development. It is a time of reasonably free
experimentation and of testing the dream in the real world. In early
adulthood, the two major tasks to be mastered are exploring the
possibilities for adult living and developing a stable life structure.
• According to Levinson, the transition to middle
adulthood lasts about five years (ages 40 to 45) and
requires the adult male to come to grips with four
major conflicts that have existed in his life since
adolescence:
1. being young versus being old,
2. being destructive versus being constructive,
3. being masculine versus being feminine
4. being attached to others versus being separated
from them.
The Life-Events Approach
• Age-related stages represent one major way to examine
adult personality development. A second major way to
conceptualize adult personality development is to focus
on life events. In the early version of the life-events
approach, life events were viewed as taxing
circumstances for individuals, forcing them to change
their personality. Such events as the death of a spouse,
divorce, marriage, and so on were believed to involve
varying degrees of stress, and therefore likely to
influence the individual’s development.
The Life-Events Approach
• Today’s life-events approach is more sophisticated. In the contemporary
life-events approach, how life events influence the individual’s
development depends not only on the life event itself but also on
mediating factors (such as physical health and family supports), the
individual’s adaptation to the life event (such as appraisal of the threat
and coping strategies), the life-stage context, and the socio-historical
context. For example, if individuals are in poor health and have little
family support, life events are likely to be more stressful. And a divorce
may be more stressful after many years of marriage when adults are in
their fifties than when they have been married only several years and are
in their twenties, a finding indicating that the life-stage context of an
event makes a difference.
• The socio-historical context also makes a difference. For
example, adults may be able to cope more effectively with
divorce today than in the 1950s because divorce has
become more commonplace and accepted in today’s
society. Whatever the context or mediating variables,
however, one individual may perceive a life event as highly
stressful, whereas another individual may perceive the
same event as a challenge.
Vocational and Family Adjustments in Middle Adulthood
• 3.5.1 Vocational Adjustments
• Management of career does not necessarily mean remaining
within the same occupational structure throughout adult life.
Although the rate of job turnover slows down after age 30, people
still need to remain flexible about their attachment to specific job.
• Work activities or work related goals may change for at least five
reasons during middle adulthood.
• One example is the career of the professional athlete whose
strength, speed and reaction time, and endurance decline to the
point where he or she can no longer compete.
• Second, some adults cannot resolve conflicts between job demands and personal
goals. Some workers recognize that the kinds of contributions they thought they could
make are simply not possible within their chosen work structures.
• A third explanation for midlife career change is the realization that one has
succeeded as much as possible in a given career. Adults may realize that they will be
promoted further or that changing technology has made their expertise obsolete.
• Fourth, some women decide to make a greater commitment to career once their
children are in high school or college. Many have chosen to withdraw from the labor
market for a time in order to fulfill parenting roles. As they return to work, women may
continue to expect to combine responsibilities as homemakers with career goals.
• Fifth, with the restructuring of work force some workers are laid off and cannot be
rehired in the same field .They have to retrain for a new line of work or for similar
work.
• Most middle adults can be categorized as either successful in a stable career
chosen during young adulthood or ready for a new career. Career changes are
sometimes the result of reevaluation, or a mid-careers assessment, which can
certainly be stressful. Such reexamination of one’s vocation can come about for
many reasons, such as feeling trapped in a career or even wanting to make more
money. One recent trend, however, is for middle adults to leave high-paying
professions to take on more humanitarian roles, such as ministers, social
workers, or counselors. The greatest source of job stress is unemployment,
especially when termination comes suddenly. Besides wrestling with issues of
self-esteem, unemployed workers must also deal with the financial hardship
brought about by loss of income. As may be expected, unemployed persons
who have alternative financial resources and who also cognitively reframe their
situations tend to cope better than those who do not.
E.B Hurlock conditions contribute to vocational satisfaction in
middle – age
1. Achievement or near achievement of a vocational goal set earlier.
2. Satisfaction on the part of family members, especially the spouse,
3. Opportunities for self-actualization on the job
4. Congenial relationship with co- workers
5. Satisfaction with treatment from mgt and direct superiors
6. Satisfaction with the provisions made by management for illness
vocations, disability, retirement, and other fringe benefits
7. Feelings of security about the job
8. Not being forced to relocate to hold a job, advance in it, or get a
new job
Adjustment to changed family patterns
• People tend to regard middle adulthood as a time
devoted to future generations. However; another test of
one’s capacity for generativity comes in the form of
commitments to one’s aging parents. One of the
significant challenges of middle adulthood is the
struggle to respond effectively to one’s parents as well as
one’s children and grandchildren. That is why middle
adults are sometimes called “the sandwich
generation”, tackled in the middle between caring for
one’s children and for one’s own parents.
• According to Cavan, “the most obvious thing is the
withdrawal of children of the family, leaving husband
and wife as the family unit.” This shrinking circle stage is
more difficult for the women than men. This is further
complicated by other changes peculiar to family
patterns in middle- age such as: physical changes, loss of
parental role, lack of preparation, feeling of failure,
feelings of uselessness, disenchantment with marriage,
care of elderly relatives.
The causes of poor sexual adjustment during the middle- age
1. Difference in the sex drive at this time
2. Poor sexual adjustments often result when men became
concerned with the loss of their sexual vigor
3. During the forties and early fifties, many women lose their
earlier inhibitions and develop more interest in sex
4. Some middle- aged women who derive little satisfaction
from intercourse or who feel that they are no longer
interesting to their husband or a necessary part of their
marriage may take the initiative in stopping it.
• Adjustment to in-laws:- the adjustments to in-laws include
adjustment to mother in-law and father – in-law as well as adjustment to
children spouses
• Adjustment to singlehood. An important problem in family
adjustment is concerned with adjustment to singlehood while the
problems of single men and single women are peculiar, the most
important problems concern widowhood in the middle- age. These
include economic, social, familiar, sexual, residential and practical
problems. Some of these are solved by remarriage if the widow is
comparatively young. This is also the case in singlehood due to divorce
by the spouse. However, singlehood due to loss of spouse by death in the
middle-age may not be always solved by remarriage.
Middle Adults and Parents
• Most middle adults characterize the re/ship with their parents as
affectionate. Indeed, a strong bond is often present b/n related middle
and older adults. Although the majority of middle adults do not live
with their parents, contacts are usually frequent and positive. And
perhaps for the first time, middle adults are able to see their parents as
the fallible human beings that they are. One issue facing middle adults
is that of caring for their aging parents. In some cases, adults, who
expected to spend their middle-age years traveling and enjoying their
own children and grandchildren, instead find themselves taking care of
their ailing parents. Some parents are completely independent of their
adult children’s support, while others are partially independent of their
children. Children of dependent parents may assist them financially,
physically and emotionally
Vocational and Martial Hazards of Middle age
• balancing work and family life, has three interrelated
concepts
• Role overload occurs as a result of too many demands and
expectations to handle in the time allowed. E.g a parent with 3
children ages 8,11 and 15 may find that the demands of getting the
children ready for school. Role conflict refers to ways that the
demands and expectations of various roles conflict with each other.
E.g role conflict occurs when a worker is expected to stay late at the
job and finish a project. Role spillover, occurs when the demands
or preoccupations about one role interfere with the ability to carry
out another role. E.g, a person may be disrupted at work by worries
about an ill parent or distracted at home
• The combination of role overload, role conflict and role spillover
can lead to reduced satisfaction at work and in family roles, and
in a decline in the person’s sense of well-being.
• Being a parent is a difficult, demanding task that requires a great
deal of learning. Because children are constantly changing and
are often unpredictable, adults must be sensitive and flexible in
new situations in order to cope successfully with their demands.
• Each period of the child’s development calls for new and
innovative parenting strategies. Child rearing experiences are
different for each child, and the changing family constellation
brings new demands for flexibility and learning. With each
successive child however, there seems to be less anxiety about
parenting skills.
Assessment of Middle Age Adjustments
• The middle-age adjustments have been assessed by
four criteria:
I. Achievements
II. Emotional states
III. Effects on personality
IV. Happiness
i. Achievements: -Unless the assessment of
achievements is realistic, one feels dejected about his
success. Therefore, success should be judged only in the
light of one’s capacity.
ii. Emotional states: - Middle-age brings anxiety, insecurity and stress.
Middle-aged persons have more worries. They however generally
become adjusted by mid-fifties when the person adjusts to his new
roles, interests and activities,
iii. Effects on personality: Positive and negative effects on personality
show the results of adjustment. Lack of adjustment leads to personality
disorganization. On the other hand, those who are well adjusted show
even more confidence, stability and maturity than was seen in their
youth.
iv. Happiness: -Happiness is the surest criterion of successful adjustment.
It comes when the individual’s need s and desires are satisfied. It shows
good adjustment. It may be the result of success in chosen vocation,
prestige, financial regards, improved social status, etc. For women it may
be the result of success in homemaking.
UNIT FOUR
Late Adulthood (Old age)
• Late adulthood is the closing period in the life span. It is a
period when people "move away" from previous, more
desirable periods-or times of "usefulness." As people move
away from the earlier periods of their lives, they often look
back on them, usually regretfully, and tend to live in the
present, ignoring the future as much as possible.
• Age sixty is usually considered the dividing line between
middle and late adulthood
• However, it is recognized that chronological age is a poor
criterion to use in marking off the beginning of late
adulthood because there are such marked differences among
individuals in the age at which aging actually begins.
• Because of better living conditions and better health care,
most men and women today do not show the mental and
physical signs of aging until the mid-sixties or even the
early seventies. For that reason, there is a gradual trend
toward using sixty-five-the age of retirement in many
businesses-to mark the beginning of late adulthood.
• The last stage in the life span is frequently subdivided
into early old age, which extends from age sixty to age
seventy, and advanced old age, which begins at seventy
and extends to the end of life. People during the sixties are
usually referred to as "elderly" –meaning somewhat old or
advanced beyond middle age-and "old'" after they reach
the age of seventy meaning, according to standard
dictionaries, advanced far in years of life and having lost
the vigor of youth.
• During this stage most individuals lose their jobs because
they retire from active service. They begin to fear about their
physical and psychological health. In our society, the elderly
are typically perceived as not so active, deteriorating
intellectually, narrow-minded and attaching significance to
religion. Many of the old people lose their spouses and suffer
from emotional insecurity. However, this may not be true of
everybody. Many people at the age of sixty or above remain
very healthy and active in life. The life style including
exercise, diet, and regular health checkup helps people to
enjoy meaningful and active life.
Characteristics of old age
1. Late adulthood is a Period of Decline
2. Individual Differences in the Effects of Aging
3. The Elderly Have a Minority-Group Status
4. Aging Requires Role Changes
5. Poor Adjustment is Characteristic of Late adulthood
6. The Desire for Rejuvenation is Widespread in Late
adulthood
1. Late adulthood is a Period of Decline
As has been stressed repeatedly, people are never static.
Instead, they constantly change. During the early part of
life the changes are evolutional in that they lead to
maturity of structure and functioning. In the latter part of
life, by contrast, they are mainly involution, involving a
regression to earlier stages. These changes are the natural
accompaniment of what is commonly known as "aging."
They affect physical as well as mental structures and
functioning. The period during late adulthood when
physical and mental decline is slow and gradual.
• The term "senility" is used to refer to the period during late adulthood
when a more or less complete physical breakdown takes place and when
there is mental disorganization. The individual who becomes eccentric,
careless, absentminded, socially withdrawn, and poorly adjusted is
usually described as "senile." Senility may come as early as the fifties, or
it may never occur because the individual dies before deterioration sets
in. Decline comes partly from physical and partly from psychological
factors. The physical cause of decline is a change in the body cells due
not to a specific disease but to the aging process. Decline may also have
psychological causes. Unfavorable attitudes toward oneself, other
people, work, and life in general can lead to senility, just as changes in
the brain tissue can.
2. Individual Differences in the Effects of Aging
• Individual differences in the effects of aging have been
recognized for many centuries. Today, even more than in
the past, it is recognized that aging affects different people
differently. People age differently because they have
different hereditary endowments, different socioeconomic
and educational backgrounds, and different patterns of
living. These differences are apparent among members of
the same sex, but they are even more apparent when men
and women are compared because aging takes place at
different rates for the two sexes.
3. The Elderly Have a Minority-Group Status
• It is a fact that the number of old people are growing, they
occupy a minority-group status-a status that excludes them to some
extent from interaction with other groups in the population and
which gives them little or no power. This minority-group status is
primarily the result of the unfavorable social attitudes toward the
aged that have been fostered by the, unfavorable stereotypes of
them. This "second-class citizenship" puts the elderly on the
defensive and has a marked effect on their personal and social
adjustments. It makes the latter years of life far from "golden" for
most people, and it causes them to be victimized by some members
of the majority group.
4. Aging Requires Role Changes
• Just as middle-aged people must learn to play new roles, so must
the elderly. Today, where efficiency, strength, speed, and physical
attractiveness are highly valued, elderly people are often regarded as
useless. Because they cannot compete with young people in the
areas where highly valued traits are needed, the social attitude
toward them is unfavorable. Furthermore, it is expected that old
people will play a decreasingly less active role in social and
community affairs, as well as in the business and professional
worlds. As a result, there is a marked reduction in the number of
roles the elderly person is able to play, and there are changes in some
of the remaining roles. While these changes are due in part to the
5. Poor Adjustment is Characteristic of Late adulthood
• Because of the unfavorable social attitudes toward the elderly that
are reflected in the way the social group treats them, it is not
surprising that many elderly people develop unfavorable self-
concepts. These tend to be expressed in maladjusted behavior of
different degrees of severity. Those who have a history of poor
adjustments tend to become more maladjusted as age progresses
than those whose earlier personal and social adjustments were more
favorable. Elderly people tend, as a group, to be more subject to
maladjustments than those who are younger. Due to increased loss
of status in a society dominated by the young, a desire to protect
their finances for their wives, and a desire to escape partial -
helplessness or pain.
6. The Desire for Rejuvenation is Widespread in Late
adulthood
• The minority-group status accorded to most elderly
persons has naturally given rise to a desire to remain
young as long as possible and to rejuvenate when the signs
of aging appear. Ancient people used elixirs or potions,
witchcraft and sorcery were used to achieve youth. Today,
medicine is being taken to replace sex hormones. Sex
therapy, such as Gerovital, the youth drug is used
popularly.
4.2. Developmental tasks of old age
• The fact that man learns his way through life is made
radically clear by consideration of the learning tasks of older
people. They still have new experiences ahead of them, and
new situations to meet. At age sixty-five when a man often
retires from his occupation, his changes are better than even
of living another ten years. During this time the man or his
wife very likely will experience several of the following
things: decreased income, moving to a smaller house, loss of
spouse by death, a crippling illness or accident, a turn in the
business cycle with a consequent change of the cost of living.
After any of these events the situation may be so changed
that the old person must learn new ways of living.
• The developmental tasks of later maturity differ in only
one fundamental respect from those of other ages. They
involve more of a defensive strategy--of holding on the
life rather than of seizing more of it. In the physical,
mental and economic spheres the limitations become
especially evident; the older person must work hard to
hold onto what he already has. In the social sphere there
is a fair chance of offsetting the narrowing of certain
social contacts and interests by the broadening of others
Characteristics of old age
• In the spiritual sphere there is perhaps no necessary
shrinking of the boundaries, and perhaps there is even a
widening of them.
1) Adjusting to decreasing physical strength and health
2) Adjusting to retirement and reduced income
3) adjusting to death of spouse
4) Establishing an explicit affiliation with one's age group
5) Meeting social and civic obligations
6) Establishing satisfactory physical living arrangements:
• Establishing satisfactory physical living arrangements:
The principal values that older people look for in
housing, according to studies of this matter, are:
(1) quiet, (2) privacy, (3) independence of action, (4)
nearness to relatives and friends, (5) residence among own
cultural group, (6) cheapness, (7) closeness to
transportation lines and communal institutions --libraries,
shops, movies, churches, etc.
Major Adjustments in Old age
• Adjustments to Physical Changes
• The major physical changes associated with aging are
described as
I. external changes,
II. internal changes and
III. changes in the sensory capacities
IV. cognitive abilities.
1) External Changes:
• This refers to the symptoms of growing old that can be seen in
an individual. With many individuals the symptoms of aging can be
seen as graying hair, aging skin shift in posture and appearance of
wrinkles and other changes.
• Key to Longer and Healthier Life
(a) Eat healthy diet.
(b) Exercise regularly.
(c) Reduce stress level.
(d) Don’t smoke or drink alcohol and other drugs.
(e) Cultivate certain positive qualities.
(f) Engage with activities of social welfare.
• (g) Develop spirituality and faith.
2) Internal Changes:
• These changes refer to the symptoms of growing old that
are not visible. These include changes in the respiratory
system, gastrointestinal system, cardiovascular system, and
central nervous system.
3) Changes in Sensory Capacities
With advancing age, there is gradual slowdown in the sensory
abilities. As you know we communicate with the outer world
through our senses. Losing in any of the senses can have
profound psychological and social consequences.
4.3.2. Cognitive Functioning in Older Adults
• Cognition refers to the process by which information is
acquired, stored, and used. During adulthood and aging
various aspects of cognition like memory, learning, attention
and speed of performance get adversely affected. The aged
people often report forgetfulness, difficulty in learning new
techniques and acquiring skills. Their concentration and
responsiveness to environmental stimulus decreases.
Dementia and Alzimer are important diseases of old age. In
general people become more vulnerable during old age.
• Several aspects of cognitive functioning including
reaction time, visual-motor, and memory show evidence
of decline with age. Changes in memory are typical signs
of aging. The ability to retrieve newly encountered
information seems to drop off. After several hours, days,
or weeks, younger adults can remember word pairs or
paragraphs or recognize pictures, better than older
people can.
 Encoding problems-in general older adults seem to be less efficient
than younger ones at encoding new information to make it easier to
remember. For example, older people are less likely to spontaneously
arrange material in alphabetical order or create mental associations.
Older adults can improve their encoding skills through training or
instruction. Storage problems-one plausible explanation for forgetting
is that stored material may deteriorate to the point where retrieval
becomes difficult or impossible.
 Retrieval problems-in retrieving learned information from memory,
older adults may be able to answer a multiple-choice question but not
an open-ended one. While they have more trouble recalling items than
younger adults, they do about as well in recognizing items they know.
Even then, it takes older people longer than younger ones to search their
memories
Characteristics of old age
• Post formal operational thinking-in many areas,
older adults perform less well than middle or young
adults. They have been described as performing
classification and problem solving tasks in a more
egocentric, idiosyncratic way than younger adults. Older
adults have a particular view that may not make sense to
others but that they insist applying since it has worked for
them in the past.
4.4 Changes in Mental Abilities and Interest
• Mental changes characteristic of old age are found with
individual variations. These changes show a general decline
of the various mental processes such as learning, reasoning,
creativity, memory, recall, reminiscing, sense of humor,
vocabulary. Mental rigidity is a sign of old age though it is
not universal. Some old people exhibit admirable flexibility
and the will to learn new ways. Along with changes in
mental processes, there are changes in personal interests
such as interest in self, interest appearance, interest in
clothes and interest in money
• Most of the old people become self- centered. Most of them
become more interested in money though there may be some
exceptions. Recreational interests also change due to these
physical and mental changes. Common recreational activities of
older people include reading, writing letters, listening to the
radio, watching television, visiting friends and relatives, sewing,
embroidering, gardening, travelling, playing cards, going to the
theatre or movies, and taking part in the activities of civic,
political or religious organizations. These changes in interests
are very much influenced by the health, economic status,
education, marital status, living condition and interest in sex
• Social interests also show a change leading to
disengagements, voluntary and involuntary. The sources of
social contact affected by ageing include personal
friendships, friendship clichés and formal groups of clubs.
Generally, social participation declines. However, among
elderly people, religious interests definitely show a sign of
increase. Some common effects of religious changes during
old age are religious tolerance, religious beliefs and
religious observances. One notices more interest in death,
about its reality, its future date, reason, etc. One finds old
people worrying whether they will have a good death or
not.
Death and Dying
• At the end of the human life span, people face the issues
of dying and death (the permanent cessation of all life
functions). North American society in recent years has
witnessed an increased interest in the thanatology, or
the study of death and dying. Thanatologists examine all
aspects of death, including biological (the cessation of
physiological processes), psychological (cognitive,
emotional, and behavioral responses), and social
(historical, cultural, and legal issues).
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adulthood ppt.pptxmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  • 1. Unit Two Early Adulthood Approximately, age 20 is the beginning of early adulthood. Age alone is not a good criterion for determining when young adulthood begins. Maturity has been identified as the major criterion of young adulthood. From the psychosocial perspective, the time of entry into a new stage is based on a convergence of experiences-including the accomplishments of the previous stage, the resolution of the previous crisis, and the beginning efforts to achieve the tasks of the new stage –rather than on chronological age.
  • 2. In contemporary society, one begins to experience adulthood as several roles emerge, typically, those of worker, committed partner, and parent. As the age of entry into marriage has advanced over the past 20 years, the majority of young people in the United States are unmarried in the age range of 20 to 24. Students take an average of 5 to 6 years to complete college, and young people seem to be involved in a longer period for job experimentation before settling into their occupational career. All of these factors argue for advancing approximate age of entry into adulthood.
  • 3. 2.1 Characteristic of Early Adulthood A. Early Adulthood is the "Settling-down Age“ B. Early Adulthood is the "Reproductive Age“ C. Early Adulthood is a "Problem Age“ D. Early Adulthood is a Period of Emotional Tension E. Early Adulthood is a Period of Social Isolation F. Early Adulthood is a time of commitments G. Early Adulthood is often a Period of Dependency H. Early Adulthood is a Time of Value Change I. Early Adulthood is the Time of Adjustment to New lifestyles
  • 4. A. Early Adulthood is the "Settling-down Age" Childhood and adolescence are the periods of "growing up" and that adulthood is the time for "settling down:" , this means when boys and girls reached the age of legal maturity, their days of carefree freedom were over and the time had come to settle down and assume the responsibilities of adult life. That meant settling into a line of work. B. Early Adulthood is the "Reproductive Age" Parenthood is one of the most important roles in the lives of most young adults. Those who were married during the latter years of adolescence concentrate on the role of parenthood during their twenties and early thirties; some become grandparents before early adulthood ends.
  • 5. C. Early Adulthood is a "Problem Age" The early adult years present many new problems, different in their major aspects, from the problems experienced in the earlier years of life. With the lowering of the age of legal maturity to 18 years, young adults have been confronted with many problems they are totally unprepared to cope with. While they are now able to vote, to own property, to marry without parental consent, and to do many things young people could not do when the age of legal maturity was twenty-one years, there is no question about the fact that "this new-found freedom is creating unforeseen problems for the youthful adults, and often for their parents, too".
  • 6. why adjustment to the problems of adulthood is so difficult First, very few young people have had any preparation for meeting the types of problems they are expected to cope with as adults. Education in high school and college provides only limited training for jobs, and few schools or colleges give courses in the common problems of marriage and parenthood. Second, just as trying to learn two or more skills simultaneously usually results in not learning anyone of them well, so trying to adjust to two or more new roles simultaneously usually results in poor adjustment to all of them. It is difficult for a young adult to deal with the choice of a career and the choice of a mate simultaneously. Similarly, adjustment to marriage and parenthood makes it difficult for young adults to adjust to work if they marry while they are still students.
  • 7. Third, and perhaps most serious of all, young adults do not have the help in meeting and solving their problems that they had when they were younger. This is partly their own fault and partly that of their parents and teachers. Most young adults are too proud of their new status to admit that they cannot cope with it. So, they do not seek the advice and help in meeting the problems this new status gives rise to. Similarly, most parents and teachers, having been rebuffed by adolescents who claimed they were capable of handling their own affairs, hesitate to offer help unless they are specifically asked to do so.
  • 8. D. Early Adulthood is a Period of Emotional Tension When people are trying to get the lay of a new land in which they find themselves, they are likely to be emotionally upset. When adults feel that they have not been able to cope with the problems in the major areas of their lives, they are often so emotionally disturbed that they contemplate or attempt suicide.
  • 9. E. Early Adulthood is a Period of Social Isolation With the end of formal education and the entrance into the adult life pattern of work and marriage, associations with the peer groups of adolescence wane and, with them, opportunities for social contacts outside the home. As a result, for the first time since babyhood even the most popular individual is likely to experience social isolation, or what Erikson has referred to as an "isolation crisis”.
  • 10. F. Early Adulthood is a time of commitments As young adults change their role from that of student and dependent, characteristic of adolescence, to that of independent adult, they  establish new patterns of living,  assume new responsibilities, and  make new commitments. While these new patterns of living, new responsibilities, and new commitments may change later, they form the foundations on which later patterns of living, responsibilities, and commitments will be established.
  • 11. G. Early Adulthood is often a Period of Dependency In spite of achieving the status of legal adulthood at age eighteen, with the independence this status carries, many young adults are partially or totally dependent on others for varying lengths of time. This dependency may be on parents; on the educational institution they attend on part or total scholarship, or on the government for loans to finance their education. . As a result, their state of dependency is often prolonged into the late twenties or early thirties.
  • 12. H. Early Adulthood is a Time of Value Change Many of the values developed during childhood and adolescence change as experience and social contact with people of different ages broaden and as values are considered from a more mature standpoint. Adults who used to consider school a necessary evil may now recognize the value of education as a stepping-stone to social and vocational success and to personal fulfillment. As a result of such changed values, many adults who dropped out of school or college decide to finish their education. Some find studying so stimulating that they continue to take courses even after receiving high school or college degrees.
  • 13. I. Early Adulthood is the Time of Adjustment to New lifestyles • While lifestyles have been in a state of flux since the turn of the present century, at no period in the life span is this truer than in early adulthood. And in no area of early adult life are new lifestyles more prevalent than in the areas of marriage and parenthood.
  • 14. 2.2 Developmental Tasks of Early Adulthood  Selecting a mate  Achieving a masculine or feminine social role  Learning to live with a marriage partner  Starting a family  Rearing children  Managing a home  Getting started in an occupation  Taking on civic responsibility  Finding a congenial (pleasant and best suited to own interest) social group
  • 15. 2.3 Diversity of Adult Lifestyles • Today, non- traditional family options have penetrated. Many adults experience not just one, but several options. Some adults make a deliberate decision to adopt a lifestyle, whereas others drift into it. The lifestyle may be imposed by society, as is the case for cohabiting homosexual couples, who cannot marry legally. Or people may decide on a certain lifestyle because they feel pushed away from another, such as a marriage gone sour. In sum, the adoption of a lifestyle can be within or beyond the person's control.
  • 16. Singlehood  Singlehood-not living with an intimate partner-has increased in recent years, especially among young adults. Besides more people marrying later or not at all, divorce has added to the numbers of single adults. In view of these trends, it is likely that most will spend a substantial part of their adult lives single.  Because they marry later, more young adult men than women are single. But women are far more likely than men to remain single for many years or their entire life. With age, fewer men are available with characteristics that most women seek in a mate-the same age or older, equally or better educated, and professionally successful
  • 17. Singlehood cont…  Of the various advantages of singlehood, those mentioned most are freedom and mobility. But singles also recognize drawbacks-loneliness, the dating grind, limited sexual and social life, reduced sense of security, and feelings of exclusion from the world of married couples.  Single men have more physical and mental health problems than single women, who usually come to terms with their lifestyle. The greater social support available to women through intimate same-sex friendships is partly responsible. In addition, never-married men are more likely to have conflict- ridden family backgrounds and personal characteristics that contribute to both their singlehood and their adjustment difficulties.
  • 18. Cohabitation  Cohabitation refers to the lifestyle of unmarried couples who have an intimate, sexual relationship and share a residence.  Until the 1960s, cohabitation in Western nations was largely limited to low- SES adults. Since then, it has increased in all groups, with an especially dramatic rise among well-educated, economically advantaged young people.  Like singlehood, cohabitation has different meanings. For some, it serves as preparation for marriage-a time to test the relationship and get used to living together. For others, it is an alternative to marriage--an arrangement that offers the rewards of sexual intimacy and companionship along with the possibility of easy departure if satisfaction declines. In view of this variation, it is not surprising that cohabiters differ greatly in the extent to which they share money and possessions and take responsibility for each other's children.
  • 19. Childlessness Some people are involuntarily childless because they did not find a partner with whom to share parenthood or their efforts at fertility treatments did not succeed. There are couples who choose not to have children as a matter of fact that voluntary childlessness is not always a permanent condition. A few people decide early that they do not want to be parents and stick to these plans. But most make their decision after they are married and have developed a lifestyle they do not want to give up. Later, some change their minds.
  • 20.  Besides marital satisfaction and freedom from child-care responsibilities, common reasons for not having children include the woman's career and economic security. Consistent with these motives, the voluntarily childless are usually college educated, have prestigious occupations, and are highly committed to their work.  Many were only or first-born children whose parents encouraged achievement and independence. In cultures that negatively stereotype childlessness, it is not surprising that voluntarily childless women are more self-reliant and assertive.
  • 21. Divorce and Remarriage Divorce rates have increased as financial instability increased and marital satisfaction has decreased. Divorces are also common during the transition to midlife, when people have teenage children-a period of low marital satisfaction. About three-fourths of divorced people remarry. But marital failure is even greater during the first few years of second marriages.
  • 22. Factors Related to Divorce • The most obvious reason for failure of marriage is a disrupted husband- wife relationship. The problem-solving style could be ineffective. Another typical style involves little conflict, but partners increasingly lead separate lives because they have different expectations of family life and few shared interests, activities, or friends. • Wives reported more problems than husbands, with the gender difference largely involving the wife's emotions, such as anger, hurt feelings, and moodiness. Husbands seemed to have difficulty sensing their wife's distress, which contributed to her view of the marriage as unhappy. • Regardless of which spouse reported the problem or was judged responsible for it, the strongest predictors of divorce were infidelity, spending money foolishly, drinking or using drugs, expressing jealousy, engaging in irritating habits, and moodiness.
  • 23. Consequences of Divorce • Immediately after separation, both men and women are depressed and anxious and display impulsive behavior. For most, these reactions subside within 2 years. Women who were in traditional marriages and who organized their identities around their husbands have an especially hard time. • A few women-- especially those who are anxious and fearful or who remain strongly attached to their ex-spouses-show a drop in self-esteem, become depressed, and tend to form repeated unsuccessful relationships. Job training, continued education, career advancement, and social support from family and friends play vital roles in the economic and psychological wellbeing of divorced women.
  • 24. Remarriage • On average, people remarry within 4 years of divorce, men somewhat faster than women. For several reasons, remarriages are especially vulnerable to breakup. First, although people often remarry for love, practical matters-financial security, help in rearing children, relief from loneliness, and social acceptance- figure more heavily into a second marriage than a first. These concerns do not provide a sound footing for a lasting partnership. Second, some people transfer the negative patterns of interaction and problem solving learned in their first marriage to the second. Third, people who have already had a failed marriage are more likely to view divorce as an acceptable solution when marital difficulties resurface. And finally, remarried couples experience more stress from step family situations.
  • 25. Variant Styles of Parenthood • Diverse family forms result in varied styles of parenthood. Among these are a growing number of cohabiting and remarried parents, never-married parents, and gay and lesbian parents. Each type of family presents unique challenges to parenting competence and adult psychological well-being. A. Stepparents: Whether stepchildren live in the household or visit only occasionally, stepparents are in a difficult position. Since the parent-child tie predates the blended family, the stepparent enters as an outsider
  • 26. Stepparents frequently criticize the biological parent for being too lenient. The parent, in turn, tends to view the stepparent as too harsh. These differences can divide the couple. Remarried parents typically report higher levels of tension and disagreement than first marriage parents, most centering on child-rearing issues. Because of more opportunities for conflict, relationship quality is poorer when both adults have children from prior marriages than when only one does. Stepmothers, especially, are likely to experience conflict. Expected to be in charge of family relationships, they quickly find that stepparent-stepchild ties do not develop instantly. Often mothers are jealous, uncooperative, and possessive of their children following divorce.
  • 27. B. Never-Married Single Parents: • Single adults occasionally decide to become parents on their own. Births to women in high-status occupations who have not married by their thirties have increased. However, they are still few in number, and little is known about how these mothers and their children fare. • Children of never-married mothers who lack the involvement of a father are poor in school and display more antisocial behavior than children in low-SES, first-marriage families. These adjustment problems make life more difficult for mothers. Strengthening social support, education, and employment opportunities for low-SES parents would encourage marriage as well as help unmarried-mother families.
  • 28. C. Gay and lesbian Parents: • Several million American gay men and lesbians are parents, most through previous heterosexual marriages, a few through adoption or reproductive technologies. In the past, laws assuming that homosexuals could not be adequate parents led those who divorced a heterosexual partner to lose custody of their children. • Gay and lesbian parents are as committed to and effective at child rearing as heterosexual parents. Some evidence suggests that gay fathers are more consistent in setting limits and more responsive to their children's needs than heterosexual fathers, perhaps because gay men's less traditional gender identity fosters involvement with children.
  • 29. • In lesbian families, quality of mother-child interaction is as positive as in heterosexual families. And children of lesbian mothers regard their mother's partner as very much a parent. Whether born to or adopted by their parents or conceived through donor insemination, children in homosexual families are as well-adjusted as other children. Also, the large majority are heterosexual. When extended- family members have difficulty accepting them, homosexual mothers and fathers often build "families of choice" through friends, who assume the roles of relatives. But most of the time, parents of gays and lesbians cannot endure a permanent rift. With time, interactions between homosexual parents and their families of origin become more positive and supportive.
  • 30. 2.4 Physical, Cognitive, Psychosocial Changes in Early Adulthood 2.4.1 Physical changes • Early adulthood is, for most people, the time of peak physical capacity. The body reaches full height by the late teens, and physical strength increases into the late 20s and early 30s. • In general, people in early adulthood feel robust and energetic, although it is not unusual to see fluctuations around deadlines and exam periods.
  • 31. • On the other hand, people in this age group are also legally able to use damaging substances, such as alcohol and tobacco. Young adults also have increasing responsibility for organizing their own eating habits and exercise regimes. The young adult years are often referred to as the peak years. Young adults experience excellent health, vigor, and physical functioning. Young adults have not yet been subjected to age-related physical deterioration, such as wrinkles, weakened body systems, and reduced lung and heart capacities.
  • 32. • Their strength, coordination, reaction time, sensation, fine motor skills, and sexual response are at a maximum. • Additionally, both young men and women enjoy the benefits of society’s emphasis on youthfulness. They typically look and feel attractive and sexually appealing. Young men may have healthy skin, all or most of their hair, and well-defined muscles. Young women may have soft and supple skin, a small waistline, and toned legs, thighs, and buttocks. Health and physical fitness during young adulthood are excellent.
  • 33. Cont… • People in their 20s and 30s perform at exceedingly high levels on tests of endurance and stamina. They generally are at their best in terms of physical conditioning and overall sense of well-being. • Death rates during young adulthood are lower than during any other period of the life span. Except for HIV /AIDS in males and malignancies in females, the leading cause of death during the 20s and 30s is accidents. Death rates, however, double during each decade after age 35.
  • 34. 2.4.2 Cognitive changes • By the end of adolescence, most people are capable of the levels of reasoning that we would expect for normal functioning in adult society. Although there are wide individual differences in attainment, most young adults are able to deal with cognitive tasks in a more abstract way than before, and to attain solutions to problems by comparing possible explanations.
  • 35. • Many young adults—particularly those who have attended college—develop the ability to reason logically, solve theoretical problems, and think abstractly. They have reached Piaget’s formal operations stage of cognitive development. During this stage, individuals can also classify and compare objects and ideas, systematically seek solutions to problems, and consider future possibilities. As young adults confront and work through the gray areas of life, some may go on to develop post formal thinking, or practical street smarts. Developing the wisdom associated with post formal thinking is a lifelong process, which begins in the teenage years and is fully realized in the older adult years
  • 36. Most young adults aged 18 and over will: Move into adult roles and responsibilities and may learn a trade, work, and/or pursue higher education Fully understand abstract concepts and be aware of consequences and personal limitations Identify career goals and prepare to achieve them Secure their autonomy and build and test their decision making skills Develop new skills, hobbies, and adult interests
  • 37. 2.4.3 Psychosocial development • Young adulthood is a time when many difficult decisions need to made. These decisions will affect the person for the rest of his life they make decision for themselves, which influence their life-style in their future. They must make choices about: Education, occupation, to marry or remain single, starting a home, children rearing, forming new friendships, & assuming certain community activities.
  • 38. • Psychosocial development in adulthood consists of changes in lifestyles and relationships. According to Erikson, the primary task of early adulthood is to establish identity and intimacy (sharing one’s total self with someone else) after wrestling with the intimacy versus isolation psychosocial crisis, which poses commitment to others opposite the possibility of self-absorption. Much psychosocial development occurring during this period is in conjunction with significant life changes, such as leaving home, finding a long-term romantic relationship, beginning a career, and starting a family.
  • 39. • An important aspect of establishing intimacy with a partner is first being able to separate from the family of origin, or family of procreation. Most young adults have familial attachments from which they are separating. This process normally begins during Daniel Levinson’s early adult transition (ages 17–22), when many young adults first leave home to attend college or to take a job in another city.
  • 40. 2.5 Personal and Social Hazards in Early Adulthood A. Physical Hazards: refers to physical defects and poor health. Individual with such problems cannot achieve what they aspire. This is usually followed by stress. Unattractive physical appearance also hurts the individual social competence. B. Social Hazards: They also face social adjustment problems. The most common one include difficulty in associating oneself, inability to develop friendly relationships and dissatisfaction with the roles the social group expects the individual to play. C. Social Mobility: is also another hazard of adjustment. That is, one who moves either side faces new social norms and values to adjust with. He/she is expected to do so. Inability to adjust is often followed by stress.
  • 41. 2.6 Vocational and Family Adjustments in Early Adulthood • Early adulthood is a period of adjustments to new patterns of life and new social expectations. The young adult is expected to play new roles, such as that of spouse, parent, and breadwinner, and to develop new attitudes, interests, and values in keeping with these new roles. These adjustments make early adulthood a distinctive period in the life span and also a difficult one. It is especially difficult because, until now, most boys and girls have had someone parents, teachers, friends or others-to help them make the adjustments they are faced with. Now, as adults, they are expected to make these adjustments for themselves. To avoid being considered "immature," they hesitate to turn to others for advice and help when they find the adjustments too difficult to cope with successfully alone.
  • 42. 2.6.1 Vocational adjustments • In young adulthood, a person’s career or job can become a significant part of a person’s self-identity. Often a person’s self- definition is related to what he or she does. Levinson (1978) describes the process of young adults entering an occupation whereby they must develop an occupational identity and establish themselves in the work world. Each job carries with it a set of components that must be adapted for successful adjustment in the workplace. • Newman and Newman (1995) describe these components: The use of technical skills; the development of authority relations; adapting to special demands and hazards; and the development of interpersonal relationship with peers. As young adults make important inroads in their career, they must also be starting a family.
  • 43. • Achieving a balance among one’s career, leisure and family life is a developmental task that needs to be addressed during this period. • The psychological importance of what people do varies, and it is important to understand the difference between a job and a career. Many people pursue a job in order to earn a living. Therefore; their job may not have much value for them from a psychological perspective. Other people pursue a career more as a way of life .Their career may have significant value to them because it is a central aspect of their life.
  • 44. 2.6.2 Marital adjustments • There are many sources of tension in a new marriage. If the partners do not have similar, religious, educational, or social class backgrounds, they will not have to compromise on many value decisions. Assumed shared value orientation, certain life style decisions can generate tension. The couple must establish a mutually satisfying sexual relationship. They must also work out an agreement about saving and spending money. As part of adjustment to marriage, the partners must achieve a sense of psychological commitment to each other. There is a period of testing in every marriage, during which each partner is likely to put strain on the relationship to see how strong it really is.
  • 45. 2.6.3 Adjustment to parenthood • During early adulthood, the issue of reproduction is confronted many times. Young adults make choices to delay parenting, have an abortion, have a child, wait before having another child, or stop having children altogether. Many parents undergo difficult and expensive procedures to conceive a child. Others who are unable to conceive decide to adopt children. Some adults become foster parents, whether or not they have children of their own. Even unplanned pregnancies are the products of some kind of decision making, whether to have sexual relationship knowing that pregnancy is possible, to avoid using effective means of birth control, to abort the pregnancy or to carry the child to term.
  • 46. • In contemporary societies, decisions about childbearing are made in the context of other personal and family goals and commitments. Factors such as religious beliefs, career aspirations, ideals about family life, and social expectations in the family and culture all contribute to a couple’s commitment to bearing children and the timing of the first and subsequent pregnancies. Cultures differ in the norms and expectations they convey about the value of having children as well as the appropriate timing and frequency of pregnancies
  • 47. 2.6.4 Vocational and Marital Hazards during Early Adulthood • Young adults have experienced different hazards related to their career and family formation. Some of the common marital and vocational hazards are listed below: • Marital Hazards:- • Adjustment to a mate • Role changes • Parenthood • Relationship with In-Laws • Hazards of Singlehood • Hazards of divorce • Hazards of Remarriage • Vocational Hazards • Job Dissatisfaction • Unemployment
  • 48. UNIT THREE 3. Middle Adulthood(ጎልማሳ) Characteristics of middle age • As Middle Adulthood is a long period in the life span, it is customarily subdivided into Early Middle Adulthood, which extends from age 40 to age 50, and Advanced Middle Adulthood, which extends from age 50 to age 60. During advanced Middle Adulthood, physical and psychological changes that first began during the early forties become far more apparent(open)
  • 49. Characteristics of middle age 1. Middle Adulthood is a Time of Stress 2. Middle Adulthood is a "Dangerous Age" 3. Middle Adulthood is an "Awkward Age" 4. Middle Adulthood is a Time of Achievement 5. Middle Adulthood is a Time of Evaluation 6. Middle Adulthood is the Time of the Empty Nest 7. Middle Adulthood is a Time of Boredom
  • 50. 1. Middle Adulthood is a Time of Stress • Categories of Stress in Middle Adulthood are:- A. Somatic stress, which is due to physical evidences of aging B. Cultural stress, stemming from the high value placed on youth, vigor, and success by the cultural group C. Economic stress, resulting from the financial burden of educating children and providing status symbols for all family members D. Psychological stress, which may be the result of the death of a spouse, the departure of children from the home, boredom with marriage, or a sense of lost youth and approaching death.
  • 51. 2. Middle Adulthood is a "Dangerous Age" • The usual way of interpreting "dangerous age" is in terms of the male who wants to have a last fling in life, especially in his sex life, before old age catches up with him. It is a time when individuals break down physically as a result of overwork, over worry, or careless living. The incidence of mental illness rises rapidly in Middle Adulthood among both men and women, and it is also a peak age for suicides, especially among men.
  • 52. 3. Middle Adulthood is an "Awkward Age" Just as adolescents are neither children nor adults, so middle-aged men and women are no longer "young" nor are they yet "old." The middle-aged person "stands between the younger 'Rebel Generation' and the 'Senior Citizen Generation'-both of which is continuously in the spotlight and suffers from the discomforts and embarrassments associated with both age groups.
  • 53. 4. Middle Adulthood is a Time of Achievement • According to Erikson, it is a crisis age in which either "Generativity" -the tendency to produce-or "stagnation" -the tendency to stand still-will dominate. People either become more and more successful or they stand still and accomplish nothing more. If middle-aged people have a strong desire to succeed, they will reach their peak at this time and reap the benefits of the years of preparation and hard work that preceded it. Women, like men, who have worked throughout the years of early adulthood, generally reach their peak during Middle Adulthood. However, this peak, until very recently, was far below that of male workers.
  • 54. 5. Middle Adulthood is a Time of Evaluation • As it is the peak age of achievement, it is logical that it also would be the time when they would evaluate their accomplishments in light of their earlier aspirations and the expectations of others, especially family members and friends. As a result of this self-evaluation, Archer has pointed out, "The mid-years seem to require the development of a different, generally more realistic sense of who one is . . In growing up, everyone nurtures fantasies or illusions about what one is, and what one will do. A major task of the mid-life decade involves coming to terms with those fantasies and illusions".
  • 55. 6. Middle Adulthood is the Time of the Empty Nest • The time when the children no longer want to live under the parental roof. Except in cases where men and women marry later than the average age, or postpone having their children until they are well established in their careers, or have large families spread out over a decade or more of time, Middle Adulthood is the "empty nest" stage in marital lives. After years of living in a family-centered home, most adults find it difficult to adjust to a pair-centered home. This is because, during the child-rearing years, husbands and wives often grew apart and developed individual interests. As a result, they have little in common after mutual interests in their children wane and when they are thrown together to adjust to each other the best they can.
  • 56. 7. Middle Adulthood is a Time of Boredom • Many, if not most, men and women experience boredom during the late thirties and forties. Men become bored with the daily routine of work and with a family life that offers little excitement. Women, who have spent most of their adulthood caring for the home and raising children, wonder what they will do for the next twenty or thirty years. The unmarried woman who has devoted her life to a job or career is bored for the same reason men are.
  • 57. Developmental Tasks of Middle Age • Each adult typically engages in all of the developmental tasks such as managing a career, nurturing, intimate relationships, and managing the household. Though their roles in the family, in the work place, and in the community, middle adults have broad responsibilities for the nurturance, education, and care of children, adolescents, young adults, and older adults. The strains of middle adulthood result largely from difficulties in balancing many roles and striving to navigate through predictable as well as sudden role transitions.
  • 58. Developmental Tasks of Middle Age 1. Adjusting to physical and physiological changes 2. Adjusting to the reality of the work situation 3. Assuring economic security for old age 4. . Maintaining contact with children and grandchildren 5. Reorganizing living arrangements 6. Adjusting to being a couple again 7. Participating in the community 8. Ensuring adequate medical supervision for old age 9. Looking after ageing parents
  • 59. 1. Adjusting to physical and physiological changes • In mid-life, people start or increase their doctors’ visits for injuries that take longer to heal or for recurrent or worrisome symptoms. Many of these symptoms are reminders of the aging process, including facial wrinkles, graying or loss of hair, reading glasses, and sleep disorders. There may be weight management issues, especially when obesity is linked with food intolerances and diseases, such as coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemias, and joint degeneration.
  • 60. 2. Adjusting to the reality of the work situation • Mid-life is often a period for vocational evaluation. There may be sadness about not having advanced far enough in career objectives. There may be fear of being replaced by a younger, more capable person. Middle-agers may feel regret about the emphasis on vocation instead of family. Retirement issues will be evaluated. For women who combined motherhood with their career, there may be a fatigue factor derived from a hectic “superwoman” lifestyle. In contrast, for women who deferred their career until later in life, there may be a desire to work harder in order to catch up to friends and colleagues.
  • 61. 3. Assuring economic security for old age • There is an accentuated focus on financial planning. Middle- agers are anxious about planning for future living expenses. • They are worried about inflation eroding their life savings and about possible future illness in themselves or family members (with expenses for medication, home care, paramedical services, specialized housing needs, etc.). Changing taxation structures may affect disposable income, and pensions may not be adequate to meet the need. Premature or forced retirement, job closures or lay-offs may limit personal goals, financial security or desired lifestyle.
  • 62. 4. Maintaining contact with children and grandchildren • The reality of grandchildren touches grandparents differently and affects their comfort in their role as grandparents and the style and depth of their involvement in this role. Grandchildren growing up in other locales may have less contact with their grandparents - who in turn may find this situation difficult to accept. Irrespective of where each child lives, there may be friction between a grandparent and his or her own adult child over common issues in child rearing.
  • 63. 5. Reorganizing living arrangements The departure of grown children from the family home may eliminate the need for existing space. Parents may need to move into a smaller home. These changes may elicit emotional loss of property or moments reflective of past family life together.
  • 64. 6. Adjusting to being a couple again • Emotional and physical intimacies are commonly found in newlyweds. This intimacy may decrease over years of marriage, as children, recreational activities and vocational obligations compete for time. Consequently, the “empty nest” situation may challenge the couple’s relationship since the absence of children as diversions may reveal changes in one or both members of the couple. A loss of intimacy may also be accentuated. A challenge exists to re-establish a relationship as a “twosome” by exploring communication and lifestyle needs and patterns. Failure to take on this challenge may lead to quarrels, sexual dysfunction, and extramarital affairs and, in some cases, divorce.
  • 65. 7. Participating in the community • In the middle age period, women, especially homemakers, appear to be more involved in community activities than men. With the recent trend towards both men and women working outside home, there is a concern that community voluntarism will suffer. 8. Ensuring adequate medical supervision for old age • In mid-life, there may be new or growing anxieties about health and aging. The extent of this concern may be related to whether one is a realist, pessimist or optimist. There is generally an increase in doctor visits as a reassurance that there is a medical system in place that can respond to their medical problems.
  • 66. 9. Looking after aging parents • Healthier lifestyles, more efficient drugs and improved technology have extended lifespan. Middle-aged people are often torn between the needs of their children and their elderly parents. They assist the latter with food shopping, housekeeping, banking and finance, laundry, bathing and hygiene, transportation, and provide accompaniment to medical appointments, and medication supervision or administration.
  • 67. 3.3. Major Adjustment in Middle age 1. Adjustment to physical changes & changed interests 2. Adjustment to Mental Changes 3. Social Adjustments
  • 68. Adjustment to physical changes & changed interests • the body organ of most persons show a 0.8 to 1% decline per year in the functional ability after the age of 30. • Part of this decline is normal, some is disease-related, and some is caused by factors such as stress, occupational status, nutritional status and many other environmental factors. Although no longer at the peak level of their young adult years, middle-aged adults still report good health and physical functioning. However, as a result of the passage of time, middle adults undergo various physical changes.
  • 69. • Decades of exposure and use take their toll on the body as wrinkles develop, organs no longer function as efficiently as they once did, and lung and heart capacities decrease. • Other changes include decreases in strength, coordination, reaction time, sensation (sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch), and fine motor skills • Also common among middle adults are the conditions of presbyopia (farsightedness or difficulty reading) and presbycusis (difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds).
  • 70. • Still, none of these changes is usually so dramatic that the middle adult cannot compensate by wearing glasses to read, taking greater care when engaging in complex motor tasks, driving more carefully, or slowing down at the gym. • Of course, people age at different rates, so some 40 year olds may feel middle-aged long before their 50-year-old counterparts. Most people, however, describe feeling that they have reached midlife by their mid-50s.
  • 71. • The bio-psychosocial changes that accompany midlife—specifically, menopause (እርጣት) (the cessation of menstruation) in women and the male climacteric (male menopause) in men—appear to be major turning points in terms of the decline that eventually typifies older adulthood. None of the biological declines of middle and late adulthood needs to be an obstacle to enjoying all aspects of life, including sex.
  • 72. Sexuality in Middle Adulthood • As people age, they may experience physical changes, illnesses, or emotional upheavals, such as the loss of a partner, that can lead to a decline in sexual interest and behavior. In women, there is a gradual decline in the function of the ovaries and in the production of estrogen. The average age at which menopause (the end of the menstrual cycle) occurs is about 50. Decreased estrogen leads to thinning of the vaginal walls, shrinking of the vagina and labia majora, and decreased vaginal lubrication. These conditions can be severe enough to cause the woman pain during intercourse.
  • 73. • Women who were sexually active either through intercourse or through masturbation before menopause and who continue sexual activity after menopause are less likely to experience vaginal problems. Women can use hormone-replacement therapy or hormone- containing creams to help maintain vaginal health. • In men, testosterone production declines over the years, and the testes become smaller. The volume and force of ejaculation decrease and sperm count is reduced, but viable sperm may still be produced in elderly men. • Erection takes longer to attain, and the time after orgasm during which erection cannot occur (the refractory period) increases. Medications and vascular disease, diabetes, and other medical conditions can cause erectile dysfunction.
  • 74. • The middle years can often lead to problems for marital couples who do not understand some of the changes they are going through during the middle years. Maggie Scarf (1992), notes the different physical changes that men and women go through during the middle years. • A man’s aging crisis can be related to the pressure he feels “to make it” and a woman’s aging crisis can be related to concerns and anxiety she feels about her physical appearance. These changes have direct implications for their sexual relationship. Scarf describes how such changes affect the sexual response cycle, which includes three phases: desire, excitement, and orgasm.
  • 75. 1. desire, being sexually motivated, can be affected by aging. example, the side effects of diseases ( diabetes or hyperthyroidism), of psychological difficulties, (depression) or of medical concerns (hypertension) that require drug treatment can all negatively affect desire. In general overtime, the sex drive declines, particularly for men. The male sex drive is also affected by a drop in testosterone, the male hormone. 2. Excitement, the second phase; of sexual response cycle is the first physiological reaction to stimulations and results in blood engorgement of the genitals. 3. The orgasm, also changes dramatically, with age primarily in the area known as the refractory period-the time between one orgasm and the physical capability to achieve another orgasm.
  • 76. • For the middle life woman, the sexual profile is quite different. • Indeed, erotic interest often increases in the desire phase, primarily in response to changes to her biological makeup. When estrogen, the female hormone, declines, it allows her testosterone to have more of an influence. During menopause, the ovaries continue to produce small amounts of testosterone, and given the decline of estrogen, the effect of the testosterone is greater, leading to increased sexual desire. • However, in the excitement phase, lack of estrogen often leads to problems with vaginal dryness.
  • 77. Menopause • Menopause is permanent ending of menstruation in women. Menopause marks the end of a woman’s natural ability to bear children. Menopause is usually preceded by 10 to 15 years during which the ovaries gradually stop producing eggs and sex hormones, a period called the climacteric. Perimenopause compasses this period of changing ovarian activity and also the first few years without menstrual cycling, typically characterized by hormonal and physical changes and sometimes emotional and psychological changes as well.
  • 78. • In the USA most women experience menopause in their late 40s or early 50s—about half by age 51. Menopause before age 35 is called premature menopause and may occur because of certain diseases, autoimmune reactions (in which the body’s immune defenses attack the body’s own cells, tissues, or organs), surgery, medical. Menopause occurs when a woman has not experienced a menstrual cycle for one year. Attitudes towards this event vary depending on cultural connotations and women’s individual expectations. In societies where women’s role is mostly reproductive inability to bear any more children is a loss of status.
  • 79. • In cultures in which the wisdom and experience of older women is valued, menopause is seen as a positive life event. In general, young women and men view menopause more negatively whereas women who have gone through the experience view it more positively. • Individually, some women view the cessation of their monthly period as a sign of impending old age and mourn the loss of youth and beauty. Other women, are glad to be rid of it.
  • 80. Signs and Symptoms • The experience of menopause differs among women, depending on d/c in diet and nutrition, general health and health care, and even how women are taught to think about menopause. Not all women experience symptoms. All physical symptoms should be discussed with a health-care provider to rule out potential causes other than approaching menopause. For a number of years before menopause women may notice longer menstrual periods, heavier menstrual flow, spotting, or irregularity. Hormone pills or low-dose birth control pills may be prescribed to control bleeding problems.
  • 81. • Hot flashes or hot flushes range from a passing feeling of warmth in the face and upper body to extreme sweating and visible redness of the skin followed by chills. Heart palpitations and feelings of suffocation can also occur. As estrogen levels decline, the vaginal walls become less elastic and thinner. Vaginal secretions are reduced and are less acidic, increasing the chances for vaginal infections. Insufficient vaginal lubrication during sexual activity can make intercourse uncomfortable or painful. Some women report a decreased interest in sex and a decline in sexual activity with menopause that are not due to vaginal problems.
  • 82. • Psychological symptoms may include depression, mood swings, weepiness, and other emotional flare-ups, as well as memory lapses. Although declining levels of estrogen may play a role in these symptoms, a number of other factors and stresses need to be considered as well. Excess alcohol, caffeine, or sugar may stress the adrenal glands and decrease the amount of adrenal androgens available for conversion to estrogen, thereby lowering estrogen and making menopausal symptoms worse. Smoking decreases estrogen production by the ovaries, leading to earlier menopause and osteoporosis. Stressful life events that may contribute to the emotional symptoms at the time of menopause include children leaving home and caring for aging
  • 83. Sexual Dysfunctions • Sexual dysfunctions are problems with sexual response that cause distress. Erectile dysfunction (impotence) refers to the inability of a man to have or maintain an erection. Premature ejaculation occurs when a man is not able to postpone or control his ejaculation. Inhibited male orgasm, or retarded ejaculation, occurs when a man cannot have an orgasm despite being highly aroused.
  • 84. Female orgasmic dysfunction • Female orgasmic dysfunction (Anorgasmia or inhibited female orgasm) refers to the inability of a woman to have an orgasm. Orgasmic dysfunction may be primary, meaning that the woman has never experienced an orgasm; secondary, meaning that the woman has had orgasms in the past but cannot have them now; or situational, meaning that she has orgasms in some situations but not in others. • Vaginismus refers to a spastic contraction of the outer third of the vagina, a condition that can close the entrance of the vagina, preventing intercourse.
  • 85. • Dyspareunia refers to painful intercourse in either women or men. • Low sexual desire is a lack of interest in sexual activity. • Discrepant sexual desire refers to a condition in which partners have considerably different levels of sexual interest. These dysfunctions may be caused by physical problems such as fatigue or illness; the use of prescription medications, other drugs, or alcohol; or psychological factors, including learned inhibition of sexual response, anxiety, interfering thoughts, spectatoring (observing and judging one's own sexual performance), lack of communication between partners, insufficient or ineffective sexual stimulation, and relationship conflicts.
  • 86. Adjustment to Mental Changes • Middle-age adult thinking differs significantly from that of adolescents and young adults. Adults are typically more focused in specific directions, having gained insight and understanding from life events that adolescents and young adults have not yet experienced. No longer viewing the world from an absolute and fixed perspective, middle adults have learned how to make compromises, question the establishment, and work through disputes. Younger people, on the hand, may still look for definitive answers. Many middle-age adults have attained Piaget’s stage of formal operations, which is characterized by the ability to think abstractly, reason logically, and solve theoretical problems.
  • 87. • Instead, middle adults may develop and employ post- formal thinking, which is characterized by the objective use of practical common sense to deal with unclear problems. An example of post-formal thinking is the middle adult who knows from experience how to maneuver through rules and regulations and play the system at the office. Another example is the middle adult who accepts the reality of contradictions in his or her religion, as opposed to the adolescent who expects a concrete truth in an infallible set of religious doctrines and rules. • Post-formal thinking begins late in adolescence and culminates in the practical wisdom so often associated with older adulthood.
  • 88. Post formal thought • During the formal operational stage, teens use their considerable reasoning abilities to solve problems, but they are very likely to generate a single solution as opposed to multiple solutions. Disagreement with their solution is usually interpreted by teens to mean that their solution is somehow incorrect. • Formal-operational thinking is absolute, and involves making decisions based on personal experience and logic. Post- formal thinking is more complex, and involves making decisions based on situational constraints and circumstances, and integrating emotion with logic to form context-dependent principles.
  • 89. Criticisms of Formal Operations 1. Formal operations overemphasizes the power of pure logic in problem solving 2. Formal operations underemphasizes the pragmatic quality of real life cognitive activity and cannot sever cognition from affective, social, and pragmatic ties 3. Formal thinking is only suited for the problems that call for scientific thinking and logical mathematical analyses  Piaget assumed - goal of mature adult to think like a scientist  Does not apply to real-life social or interpersonal problems 4. Formal operations is geared for the solution of closed system, well-defined problems - needs controllable, specific variables , implies single correct solutions and real life - unlimited number of uncontrollable, changeable, and ill-defined variables 5. Formal operations does not recognize the relative nature of knowledge and the need to adopt multiple frames of reference
  • 90. Characteristics of Post Formal Thought 1. Post formal thinkers possess an understanding of the relative, non-absolute nature of knowledge • Relativistic thinking 2. Accept contradiction as a basic aspect of reality 3. Post formal thinkers capable of dialectic reasoning • able to synthesize contradictory thoughts, emotions, and experiences 4. A contextual approach to problem solving • solve problems by continuously creating new principles based on changing circumstance • instead of set principles applied to all contexts 5. Post formal thinking tends to be domain-specific • people use in some but not all areas
  • 91. Social Adjustments • In all age groups, friends are a healthy alternative to family and acquaintances. Friends offer support, direction, guidance, and a change of pace from usual routines. Many young adults manage to maintain at least some friendships in spite of the time constraints caused by family, school, and work; however, finding time to maintain friendships becomes more difficult for middle adults. During this period, life responsibilities are at an all-time high, so having extra time for socializing is usually rare. For this reason, middle adults may have less friends than their newlywed and retired counterparts. Yet where quantity of friendships may be lacking, quality predominates. Some of the closest ties between friends are formed and nourished during middle adulthood.
  • 92. Personality Theories and Development 1. Adult Stages Theories 2. The Life-Events Approach 1. Adult Stages Theories • Adult stage theories have been plentiful, and they have contributed to the view that midlife brings a crisis in development. Two prominent theories that define stages of adult development are Erik Erikson’s life-span view and Daniel Levinson’s seasons of a man’s life.
  • 93. Erikson’s Stage of Generativity Versus Stagnation • Erikson proposed that middle-aged adults face a significant issue generativity versus stagnation, which is the name Erikson gave to the seventh stage in his life-span theory. • Generativity encompasses adults’ desire to leave legacies of themselves to the next generation. Through these legacies adults achieve a kind of immortality. By contrast, stagnation ( “self-absorption”) develops when individuals sense that they have done nothing for the next generation.
  • 94. Levinson’s Seasons of a Man’s Life • Although Levinson’s major interest focused on midlife change, he described a number of stages and transitions during the period from 17 to 65 years of age. Levinson emphasizes that developmental tasks must be mastered at each stage. At the end of one’s teens, according to Levinson, a transition from dependence to independence should occur. This transition is marked by the formation of a dream an image of the kind of life the youth wants to have, especially in terms of a career and marriage. Levinson sees the twenties as a novice phase of adult development. It is a time of reasonably free experimentation and of testing the dream in the real world. In early adulthood, the two major tasks to be mastered are exploring the possibilities for adult living and developing a stable life structure.
  • 95. • According to Levinson, the transition to middle adulthood lasts about five years (ages 40 to 45) and requires the adult male to come to grips with four major conflicts that have existed in his life since adolescence: 1. being young versus being old, 2. being destructive versus being constructive, 3. being masculine versus being feminine 4. being attached to others versus being separated from them.
  • 96. The Life-Events Approach • Age-related stages represent one major way to examine adult personality development. A second major way to conceptualize adult personality development is to focus on life events. In the early version of the life-events approach, life events were viewed as taxing circumstances for individuals, forcing them to change their personality. Such events as the death of a spouse, divorce, marriage, and so on were believed to involve varying degrees of stress, and therefore likely to influence the individual’s development.
  • 97. The Life-Events Approach • Today’s life-events approach is more sophisticated. In the contemporary life-events approach, how life events influence the individual’s development depends not only on the life event itself but also on mediating factors (such as physical health and family supports), the individual’s adaptation to the life event (such as appraisal of the threat and coping strategies), the life-stage context, and the socio-historical context. For example, if individuals are in poor health and have little family support, life events are likely to be more stressful. And a divorce may be more stressful after many years of marriage when adults are in their fifties than when they have been married only several years and are in their twenties, a finding indicating that the life-stage context of an event makes a difference.
  • 98. • The socio-historical context also makes a difference. For example, adults may be able to cope more effectively with divorce today than in the 1950s because divorce has become more commonplace and accepted in today’s society. Whatever the context or mediating variables, however, one individual may perceive a life event as highly stressful, whereas another individual may perceive the same event as a challenge.
  • 99. Vocational and Family Adjustments in Middle Adulthood • 3.5.1 Vocational Adjustments • Management of career does not necessarily mean remaining within the same occupational structure throughout adult life. Although the rate of job turnover slows down after age 30, people still need to remain flexible about their attachment to specific job. • Work activities or work related goals may change for at least five reasons during middle adulthood. • One example is the career of the professional athlete whose strength, speed and reaction time, and endurance decline to the point where he or she can no longer compete.
  • 100. • Second, some adults cannot resolve conflicts between job demands and personal goals. Some workers recognize that the kinds of contributions they thought they could make are simply not possible within their chosen work structures. • A third explanation for midlife career change is the realization that one has succeeded as much as possible in a given career. Adults may realize that they will be promoted further or that changing technology has made their expertise obsolete. • Fourth, some women decide to make a greater commitment to career once their children are in high school or college. Many have chosen to withdraw from the labor market for a time in order to fulfill parenting roles. As they return to work, women may continue to expect to combine responsibilities as homemakers with career goals. • Fifth, with the restructuring of work force some workers are laid off and cannot be rehired in the same field .They have to retrain for a new line of work or for similar work.
  • 101. • Most middle adults can be categorized as either successful in a stable career chosen during young adulthood or ready for a new career. Career changes are sometimes the result of reevaluation, or a mid-careers assessment, which can certainly be stressful. Such reexamination of one’s vocation can come about for many reasons, such as feeling trapped in a career or even wanting to make more money. One recent trend, however, is for middle adults to leave high-paying professions to take on more humanitarian roles, such as ministers, social workers, or counselors. The greatest source of job stress is unemployment, especially when termination comes suddenly. Besides wrestling with issues of self-esteem, unemployed workers must also deal with the financial hardship brought about by loss of income. As may be expected, unemployed persons who have alternative financial resources and who also cognitively reframe their situations tend to cope better than those who do not.
  • 102. E.B Hurlock conditions contribute to vocational satisfaction in middle – age 1. Achievement or near achievement of a vocational goal set earlier. 2. Satisfaction on the part of family members, especially the spouse, 3. Opportunities for self-actualization on the job 4. Congenial relationship with co- workers 5. Satisfaction with treatment from mgt and direct superiors 6. Satisfaction with the provisions made by management for illness vocations, disability, retirement, and other fringe benefits 7. Feelings of security about the job 8. Not being forced to relocate to hold a job, advance in it, or get a new job
  • 103. Adjustment to changed family patterns • People tend to regard middle adulthood as a time devoted to future generations. However; another test of one’s capacity for generativity comes in the form of commitments to one’s aging parents. One of the significant challenges of middle adulthood is the struggle to respond effectively to one’s parents as well as one’s children and grandchildren. That is why middle adults are sometimes called “the sandwich generation”, tackled in the middle between caring for one’s children and for one’s own parents.
  • 104. • According to Cavan, “the most obvious thing is the withdrawal of children of the family, leaving husband and wife as the family unit.” This shrinking circle stage is more difficult for the women than men. This is further complicated by other changes peculiar to family patterns in middle- age such as: physical changes, loss of parental role, lack of preparation, feeling of failure, feelings of uselessness, disenchantment with marriage, care of elderly relatives.
  • 105. The causes of poor sexual adjustment during the middle- age 1. Difference in the sex drive at this time 2. Poor sexual adjustments often result when men became concerned with the loss of their sexual vigor 3. During the forties and early fifties, many women lose their earlier inhibitions and develop more interest in sex 4. Some middle- aged women who derive little satisfaction from intercourse or who feel that they are no longer interesting to their husband or a necessary part of their marriage may take the initiative in stopping it.
  • 106. • Adjustment to in-laws:- the adjustments to in-laws include adjustment to mother in-law and father – in-law as well as adjustment to children spouses • Adjustment to singlehood. An important problem in family adjustment is concerned with adjustment to singlehood while the problems of single men and single women are peculiar, the most important problems concern widowhood in the middle- age. These include economic, social, familiar, sexual, residential and practical problems. Some of these are solved by remarriage if the widow is comparatively young. This is also the case in singlehood due to divorce by the spouse. However, singlehood due to loss of spouse by death in the middle-age may not be always solved by remarriage.
  • 107. Middle Adults and Parents • Most middle adults characterize the re/ship with their parents as affectionate. Indeed, a strong bond is often present b/n related middle and older adults. Although the majority of middle adults do not live with their parents, contacts are usually frequent and positive. And perhaps for the first time, middle adults are able to see their parents as the fallible human beings that they are. One issue facing middle adults is that of caring for their aging parents. In some cases, adults, who expected to spend their middle-age years traveling and enjoying their own children and grandchildren, instead find themselves taking care of their ailing parents. Some parents are completely independent of their adult children’s support, while others are partially independent of their children. Children of dependent parents may assist them financially, physically and emotionally
  • 108. Vocational and Martial Hazards of Middle age • balancing work and family life, has three interrelated concepts • Role overload occurs as a result of too many demands and expectations to handle in the time allowed. E.g a parent with 3 children ages 8,11 and 15 may find that the demands of getting the children ready for school. Role conflict refers to ways that the demands and expectations of various roles conflict with each other. E.g role conflict occurs when a worker is expected to stay late at the job and finish a project. Role spillover, occurs when the demands or preoccupations about one role interfere with the ability to carry out another role. E.g, a person may be disrupted at work by worries about an ill parent or distracted at home
  • 109. • The combination of role overload, role conflict and role spillover can lead to reduced satisfaction at work and in family roles, and in a decline in the person’s sense of well-being. • Being a parent is a difficult, demanding task that requires a great deal of learning. Because children are constantly changing and are often unpredictable, adults must be sensitive and flexible in new situations in order to cope successfully with their demands. • Each period of the child’s development calls for new and innovative parenting strategies. Child rearing experiences are different for each child, and the changing family constellation brings new demands for flexibility and learning. With each successive child however, there seems to be less anxiety about parenting skills.
  • 110. Assessment of Middle Age Adjustments • The middle-age adjustments have been assessed by four criteria: I. Achievements II. Emotional states III. Effects on personality IV. Happiness i. Achievements: -Unless the assessment of achievements is realistic, one feels dejected about his success. Therefore, success should be judged only in the light of one’s capacity.
  • 111. ii. Emotional states: - Middle-age brings anxiety, insecurity and stress. Middle-aged persons have more worries. They however generally become adjusted by mid-fifties when the person adjusts to his new roles, interests and activities, iii. Effects on personality: Positive and negative effects on personality show the results of adjustment. Lack of adjustment leads to personality disorganization. On the other hand, those who are well adjusted show even more confidence, stability and maturity than was seen in their youth. iv. Happiness: -Happiness is the surest criterion of successful adjustment. It comes when the individual’s need s and desires are satisfied. It shows good adjustment. It may be the result of success in chosen vocation, prestige, financial regards, improved social status, etc. For women it may be the result of success in homemaking.
  • 112. UNIT FOUR Late Adulthood (Old age) • Late adulthood is the closing period in the life span. It is a period when people "move away" from previous, more desirable periods-or times of "usefulness." As people move away from the earlier periods of their lives, they often look back on them, usually regretfully, and tend to live in the present, ignoring the future as much as possible. • Age sixty is usually considered the dividing line between middle and late adulthood
  • 113. • However, it is recognized that chronological age is a poor criterion to use in marking off the beginning of late adulthood because there are such marked differences among individuals in the age at which aging actually begins. • Because of better living conditions and better health care, most men and women today do not show the mental and physical signs of aging until the mid-sixties or even the early seventies. For that reason, there is a gradual trend toward using sixty-five-the age of retirement in many businesses-to mark the beginning of late adulthood.
  • 114. • The last stage in the life span is frequently subdivided into early old age, which extends from age sixty to age seventy, and advanced old age, which begins at seventy and extends to the end of life. People during the sixties are usually referred to as "elderly" –meaning somewhat old or advanced beyond middle age-and "old'" after they reach the age of seventy meaning, according to standard dictionaries, advanced far in years of life and having lost the vigor of youth.
  • 115. • During this stage most individuals lose their jobs because they retire from active service. They begin to fear about their physical and psychological health. In our society, the elderly are typically perceived as not so active, deteriorating intellectually, narrow-minded and attaching significance to religion. Many of the old people lose their spouses and suffer from emotional insecurity. However, this may not be true of everybody. Many people at the age of sixty or above remain very healthy and active in life. The life style including exercise, diet, and regular health checkup helps people to enjoy meaningful and active life.
  • 116. Characteristics of old age 1. Late adulthood is a Period of Decline 2. Individual Differences in the Effects of Aging 3. The Elderly Have a Minority-Group Status 4. Aging Requires Role Changes 5. Poor Adjustment is Characteristic of Late adulthood 6. The Desire for Rejuvenation is Widespread in Late adulthood
  • 117. 1. Late adulthood is a Period of Decline As has been stressed repeatedly, people are never static. Instead, they constantly change. During the early part of life the changes are evolutional in that they lead to maturity of structure and functioning. In the latter part of life, by contrast, they are mainly involution, involving a regression to earlier stages. These changes are the natural accompaniment of what is commonly known as "aging." They affect physical as well as mental structures and functioning. The period during late adulthood when physical and mental decline is slow and gradual.
  • 118. • The term "senility" is used to refer to the period during late adulthood when a more or less complete physical breakdown takes place and when there is mental disorganization. The individual who becomes eccentric, careless, absentminded, socially withdrawn, and poorly adjusted is usually described as "senile." Senility may come as early as the fifties, or it may never occur because the individual dies before deterioration sets in. Decline comes partly from physical and partly from psychological factors. The physical cause of decline is a change in the body cells due not to a specific disease but to the aging process. Decline may also have psychological causes. Unfavorable attitudes toward oneself, other people, work, and life in general can lead to senility, just as changes in the brain tissue can.
  • 119. 2. Individual Differences in the Effects of Aging • Individual differences in the effects of aging have been recognized for many centuries. Today, even more than in the past, it is recognized that aging affects different people differently. People age differently because they have different hereditary endowments, different socioeconomic and educational backgrounds, and different patterns of living. These differences are apparent among members of the same sex, but they are even more apparent when men and women are compared because aging takes place at different rates for the two sexes.
  • 120. 3. The Elderly Have a Minority-Group Status • It is a fact that the number of old people are growing, they occupy a minority-group status-a status that excludes them to some extent from interaction with other groups in the population and which gives them little or no power. This minority-group status is primarily the result of the unfavorable social attitudes toward the aged that have been fostered by the, unfavorable stereotypes of them. This "second-class citizenship" puts the elderly on the defensive and has a marked effect on their personal and social adjustments. It makes the latter years of life far from "golden" for most people, and it causes them to be victimized by some members of the majority group.
  • 121. 4. Aging Requires Role Changes • Just as middle-aged people must learn to play new roles, so must the elderly. Today, where efficiency, strength, speed, and physical attractiveness are highly valued, elderly people are often regarded as useless. Because they cannot compete with young people in the areas where highly valued traits are needed, the social attitude toward them is unfavorable. Furthermore, it is expected that old people will play a decreasingly less active role in social and community affairs, as well as in the business and professional worlds. As a result, there is a marked reduction in the number of roles the elderly person is able to play, and there are changes in some of the remaining roles. While these changes are due in part to the
  • 122. 5. Poor Adjustment is Characteristic of Late adulthood • Because of the unfavorable social attitudes toward the elderly that are reflected in the way the social group treats them, it is not surprising that many elderly people develop unfavorable self- concepts. These tend to be expressed in maladjusted behavior of different degrees of severity. Those who have a history of poor adjustments tend to become more maladjusted as age progresses than those whose earlier personal and social adjustments were more favorable. Elderly people tend, as a group, to be more subject to maladjustments than those who are younger. Due to increased loss of status in a society dominated by the young, a desire to protect their finances for their wives, and a desire to escape partial - helplessness or pain.
  • 123. 6. The Desire for Rejuvenation is Widespread in Late adulthood • The minority-group status accorded to most elderly persons has naturally given rise to a desire to remain young as long as possible and to rejuvenate when the signs of aging appear. Ancient people used elixirs or potions, witchcraft and sorcery were used to achieve youth. Today, medicine is being taken to replace sex hormones. Sex therapy, such as Gerovital, the youth drug is used popularly.
  • 124. 4.2. Developmental tasks of old age • The fact that man learns his way through life is made radically clear by consideration of the learning tasks of older people. They still have new experiences ahead of them, and new situations to meet. At age sixty-five when a man often retires from his occupation, his changes are better than even of living another ten years. During this time the man or his wife very likely will experience several of the following things: decreased income, moving to a smaller house, loss of spouse by death, a crippling illness or accident, a turn in the business cycle with a consequent change of the cost of living. After any of these events the situation may be so changed that the old person must learn new ways of living.
  • 125. • The developmental tasks of later maturity differ in only one fundamental respect from those of other ages. They involve more of a defensive strategy--of holding on the life rather than of seizing more of it. In the physical, mental and economic spheres the limitations become especially evident; the older person must work hard to hold onto what he already has. In the social sphere there is a fair chance of offsetting the narrowing of certain social contacts and interests by the broadening of others
  • 126. Characteristics of old age • In the spiritual sphere there is perhaps no necessary shrinking of the boundaries, and perhaps there is even a widening of them. 1) Adjusting to decreasing physical strength and health 2) Adjusting to retirement and reduced income 3) adjusting to death of spouse 4) Establishing an explicit affiliation with one's age group 5) Meeting social and civic obligations 6) Establishing satisfactory physical living arrangements:
  • 127. • Establishing satisfactory physical living arrangements: The principal values that older people look for in housing, according to studies of this matter, are: (1) quiet, (2) privacy, (3) independence of action, (4) nearness to relatives and friends, (5) residence among own cultural group, (6) cheapness, (7) closeness to transportation lines and communal institutions --libraries, shops, movies, churches, etc.
  • 128. Major Adjustments in Old age • Adjustments to Physical Changes • The major physical changes associated with aging are described as I. external changes, II. internal changes and III. changes in the sensory capacities IV. cognitive abilities.
  • 129. 1) External Changes: • This refers to the symptoms of growing old that can be seen in an individual. With many individuals the symptoms of aging can be seen as graying hair, aging skin shift in posture and appearance of wrinkles and other changes. • Key to Longer and Healthier Life (a) Eat healthy diet. (b) Exercise regularly. (c) Reduce stress level. (d) Don’t smoke or drink alcohol and other drugs. (e) Cultivate certain positive qualities. (f) Engage with activities of social welfare. • (g) Develop spirituality and faith.
  • 130. 2) Internal Changes: • These changes refer to the symptoms of growing old that are not visible. These include changes in the respiratory system, gastrointestinal system, cardiovascular system, and central nervous system. 3) Changes in Sensory Capacities With advancing age, there is gradual slowdown in the sensory abilities. As you know we communicate with the outer world through our senses. Losing in any of the senses can have profound psychological and social consequences.
  • 131. 4.3.2. Cognitive Functioning in Older Adults • Cognition refers to the process by which information is acquired, stored, and used. During adulthood and aging various aspects of cognition like memory, learning, attention and speed of performance get adversely affected. The aged people often report forgetfulness, difficulty in learning new techniques and acquiring skills. Their concentration and responsiveness to environmental stimulus decreases. Dementia and Alzimer are important diseases of old age. In general people become more vulnerable during old age.
  • 132. • Several aspects of cognitive functioning including reaction time, visual-motor, and memory show evidence of decline with age. Changes in memory are typical signs of aging. The ability to retrieve newly encountered information seems to drop off. After several hours, days, or weeks, younger adults can remember word pairs or paragraphs or recognize pictures, better than older people can.
  • 133.  Encoding problems-in general older adults seem to be less efficient than younger ones at encoding new information to make it easier to remember. For example, older people are less likely to spontaneously arrange material in alphabetical order or create mental associations. Older adults can improve their encoding skills through training or instruction. Storage problems-one plausible explanation for forgetting is that stored material may deteriorate to the point where retrieval becomes difficult or impossible.  Retrieval problems-in retrieving learned information from memory, older adults may be able to answer a multiple-choice question but not an open-ended one. While they have more trouble recalling items than younger adults, they do about as well in recognizing items they know. Even then, it takes older people longer than younger ones to search their memories
  • 134. Characteristics of old age • Post formal operational thinking-in many areas, older adults perform less well than middle or young adults. They have been described as performing classification and problem solving tasks in a more egocentric, idiosyncratic way than younger adults. Older adults have a particular view that may not make sense to others but that they insist applying since it has worked for them in the past.
  • 135. 4.4 Changes in Mental Abilities and Interest • Mental changes characteristic of old age are found with individual variations. These changes show a general decline of the various mental processes such as learning, reasoning, creativity, memory, recall, reminiscing, sense of humor, vocabulary. Mental rigidity is a sign of old age though it is not universal. Some old people exhibit admirable flexibility and the will to learn new ways. Along with changes in mental processes, there are changes in personal interests such as interest in self, interest appearance, interest in clothes and interest in money
  • 136. • Most of the old people become self- centered. Most of them become more interested in money though there may be some exceptions. Recreational interests also change due to these physical and mental changes. Common recreational activities of older people include reading, writing letters, listening to the radio, watching television, visiting friends and relatives, sewing, embroidering, gardening, travelling, playing cards, going to the theatre or movies, and taking part in the activities of civic, political or religious organizations. These changes in interests are very much influenced by the health, economic status, education, marital status, living condition and interest in sex
  • 137. • Social interests also show a change leading to disengagements, voluntary and involuntary. The sources of social contact affected by ageing include personal friendships, friendship clichés and formal groups of clubs. Generally, social participation declines. However, among elderly people, religious interests definitely show a sign of increase. Some common effects of religious changes during old age are religious tolerance, religious beliefs and religious observances. One notices more interest in death, about its reality, its future date, reason, etc. One finds old people worrying whether they will have a good death or not.
  • 138. Death and Dying • At the end of the human life span, people face the issues of dying and death (the permanent cessation of all life functions). North American society in recent years has witnessed an increased interest in the thanatology, or the study of death and dying. Thanatologists examine all aspects of death, including biological (the cessation of physiological processes), psychological (cognitive, emotional, and behavioral responses), and social (historical, cultural, and legal issues).