Middle Adulthood Characteristics  declining physical skills  increasing responsibilities, self-satisfaction and awareness of time (past, future

)  According to Erikson, the issue is generatively (a commitment to and caring for next generation) vs. stagnation.  Middle Age (35²60) is generally the most powerful stage in life in terms of earning capacity, influence on other people and impact on society in general. Middle age is the age of society's normbearers and decision-makers, bill-payers and powerbrokers, managers, and leaders ² society's movers and shakers.  Middle age is characterized by competence, maturity, responsibility and stability.  This is the time when one wants to enjoy the success of job, satisfaction derived from the family and social life.  People look forward to the success of their children.  Attention gets more focused on health, the fate of children, aging parents, the use of leisure time and plans for old age.  For women, menopause occurs between the ages of forty-five and fifty. Menopause is supposed to be accompanied by some distressing physical and psychological symptoms in women.  Men during this period show greater concern towards their health, strength, power and sexual potency.  People start viewing themselves as becoming older and become conscious of their mortality which leads to emotional instability.  Reexamine their lives, their relationships, their work, and even to question the meaning of it all. This process has been referred to as a mid-life crisis.

Developmental tasks ²Nurturing the marriage relationship ²Management of household ²Parenting ²Management of a career ²giving up the image of youth ²acknowledging mortality  Achieving adult civic and social responsibilities.  Assisting teenage children to become responsible and happy adults.  Developing adult leisure-time activities.  Relating oneself to one's spouse as a person.  Accepting and adjusting to the physiological changes of middle age.  Reaching and maintaining satisfactory performance in one's occupational career.  Adjusting to aging parents. Interests  Middle-aged men, as a group, have a greater interest in clothing and appearance than middleaged women, as a group, because they recognize its importance to vocational success.  Middle-aged men's interest in money is different from that of middle-aged women; though it is usually greater in women than in men - who regard it as essential to security and to having the status symbol they crave.  Interest in religion in middle age is usually greater than in adulthood and is often based on personal & social needs.  Interest in strenuous recreations wanes.  There is a shift from recreational activities involving large groups to those involving only several people.  There is a narrowing down of recreational interests.  Social interests in activities in middle age are greatly influenced by social-class status, sex and marital status.

Personal and Social Hazards  The most important personal hazards of middle age include: ± acceptance of traditional beliefs about middle age, ± idealization of youth, ± unrealistic aspirations & changes in roles, in interests and in value placed on status symbol  Among the common hazards that affect social adjustments in middle age are: acceptance of the 'rocking chairµ philosophy about middle age unattractive appearance lack of social skills preference for family contacts financial problems family pressures and obligations a desire for popularity as expressed in immature patterns of behavior and social mobility Vocational Adjustments  Unfavorable social attitude.  Hiring policies.  Increased use of automation.  Group work.  Increasing importance of the role of wives.  Compulsory retirement.  Dominance of big business.  Necessity for re-location.

loss is twice as fast) ² decreasing strength and coordination ² visual problems: near vision.cessation of women¶s menstrual periods ² few infectious.Physical Development ² decreasing height / increasing weight ² After 55. sexual excitation and sexual activity remains normal Changes in Human Reproductive System During Middle Age Female Male Hormonal Drop in estrogen Drop in Change and progesterone testosterone Symptoms Hot flashes. cancer specifically breast cancer. often become aware of lack of effect of actions ² aware that job makes little difference to the society or to one¶s self ² common in helping professions ² associated with greater than average idealism and drive in the 20¶s Health ² slow. slower orgasms. capacity some decrease in fertility may occur ² Hypertension-chronically high blood pressure ² diabetes ²osteoporosis-conditions in which the bones become thin and brittle as a result of rapid calcium depletion. urinary dysfunction Sexual Less intense Loss of Changes arousal. arthritis) ² lung cancer: rates increasing a greater rate than for men Lifestyle Changes ² ³catching up´ effect of lifestyle ² now requires active attempt to improve ² requires behaviour change ² must create exercise routine to avoid weight gain ² must stop smoking. visual search and speed of processing visual information. dynamic vision (reading moving signs). especially with regards to sounds at the upper frequencies. due to slowed replacement rate. increased risk of erectile dysfunction Reproductive Ends Continues. nutrition) ²Still. stroke ² divorced men: greater incidence >women ² nonfatal illnesses (i. ² decreasing kidney function (50% decrease) ² decreasing cardiac output ² Sensitivity to taste and smell begins to decline ²begins to loose sensitivity to touch after the age of 45 and to pain (after 50yrs old) ² Changes in appearance that reflects in body structure and systems ²Skin become less taut and smooth ² Hair become thinner. mostly chronic ² heart disease most common. longer recovery between ejaculations. physiological changes ² highly variable: most women report no major problems ² men: no equivalent to menopause (although some hypothesize ³andropause´-generally. sensitivity to light. then cancer . and grayer ²heart begins to pump more slowly Sexual Adjustments ² may be accompanied by emotional.e. cut down drinking ² according to a 1990¶s study: by 40¶s. slow decline in testosterone ² may lead to some degree of erectile dysfunction ² 75% of dysfunction due to physiological problems ² much of this associated with lifestyle (smoking. prostate screening) tests Burnout-syndrome of emotional exhaustion and a sense that one can no longeraccomplish anything on the job ² by this stage. less psychological frequent and arousal. more diseases ² menopause. gradual decrease in frequency ² fewer accidents. less quicker orgasms frequent erections. drinking.. 1 inch for women ² decreasing bone density (for women. resulting when the lens of the eye becomes less elastic. half of all alcoholics become social drinkers ² must schedule regular medical (mammography. undetermined vaginal dryness. >men ² more: heart disease. *prebyopia-farsightedness associated with aging. approximately 2 inches lost for men. *myopia-nearsightedness ² decreasing hearing (especially high frequencies) *presbycusis-gradual loss of hearing which accelerates after age 55.

spatial orientation. couples tend to be even more satisfied than the first four years ²divorce in midlife is relatively rare ²the effects of empty nest depend on the quality and length of the marriage and in a shaky marriage they may now see no reason to prolong the bond. retirement. held that healthy midlife development calls for individuation *individuation-emergence of the true self through balancing or integrating conflicting parts of the personality ²Erikson saw the years around age 40 as the time when people enter their seventh normative stage (generativity vs. *empty nest-transition that youngest child leaves home occurs when the ²grandparents play an integral role in child rising and family decisions ²grandmothers have closer. *gender crossover-Gutmann¶s term for reversal of gender roles after the end of active parenting Relationships ²social relationships tend to be more important than sexual relationships ²a good relationship with a spouse is important to their quality of life and also close ties to family and friends ²those who are not married had fewer than six friends and relatives and did not belong to religious or community group ²couples who remained together for 25.1969. wanting to remain productive and feeling valued and respected Theories ²Freud saw no point in psychotherapy for people over 50 because he believed personality is permanently formed by that age. and cognitive abilities are incorporated into identity schema. ²Swiss psychologist Carl Jung (1933. more interested in intimate relationships and more nurturing ²There is a reversal or roles once parenting is over ±a gender crossover.² avoiding burnout requires the setting of realistic goals. Identity Development ²changing roles and relationships for men and women at this time may affect gender identity ²perceived personality traits. stagnation) ²social networks ten to be smaller and more intimate ²relationships with siblings are the longest-lasting in most people¶s lives Roles play by today¶s grand parents -often. and financial circumstances ²50 yrs olds tend to word primarily for financial reasons. grandparenthood begins before the end of active parenting . pension. religious people are more likely to increase their development of other coping strategies Social Roles ²launching children ²becoming grandparents ²changing jobs or careers ²retirement Cognitive and Mental Development ² middle aged people are in their prime ²perceptual speed declines steadily ²numerical ability begins to decline around 40 ²the ability to solve practical problems is strong and may peak at midlife ²Peak performance in four of the six abilities. at 60 intrinsic values such as enjoyment of work. contact tend to diminish but affection grows ²formal role ²Fun seeking role ²Surrogate parent role ²Reservoir of the family wisdom role ²Distant figure role Vocation and Retirement ²The main predictors of retirement age are health. vocabulary and verbal memory ²if work could be made more meaningful and challenging. humanistic theorists such as Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers looked on middle age as an opportunity for positive change ²According to Abraham Maslow. change of careers. 40 years were rare (either broken by death or for survivors to remarry) ²a 35 to 44 years of marriage. ²self-perceptions are continually confirmed or revised in response to incoming information *Gender Identity ²middle aged men are more open about their feelings. warmer more affectionate relationships with their grandchildren than grandfathers do ²as grandchildren grows. Unemployment -greatest work-related stressor is the loss of job. 1971). physical characteristics. reduced hypertension iii) increasing ability to cope with stress ² can use the ³power of prayer´ as a coping mechanism ² also. etc. eligibility. more adults might retain or improve their cognitive abilities. lifelong process of bringing the self in harmony with experience. the first major theorist about adult development. ²By contrast. 30.1953. self-actualization can come only with maturity ²Rogers (1961) held that full human functioning requires a constant. Role of Religion ² no pattern of change in religious beliefs in middle years ²the effect of religion on the individual may increase why would beliefs affect health? ² religious beliefs are more likely to be associated with: i) lower substance abuse ii) lower blood pressure. inductive reasoning.