Book Cover Human Development 7/e --- Papalia & Olds
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Chapter 15: Psychosocial Development in Middle Adulthood (Papalia 7e)


Midlife is a time to search for meaning in one's life with respect to the achievement of earlier goals and ambitions (particularly in the areas of careers and intimate relationships) often with recognition that if there are changes to be made, one will need to act quickly. Contrary to popular thought, many report that midlife is the happiest time of their life.

· Chapter 15 begins with a discussion of the supposedly stressful period during the early to middle forties which accounts for the common changes in personality and life style during middle adulthood. Although this period may result in a midlife crisis for some men and women, the existence of a universal midlife crisis is in doubt.

· The chapter then examines middle adulthood development (ages 40 to 65) from five theoretical perspectives: those of Carl Jung, Erik Erikson, Robert Peck, George Vaillant, and Daniel Levinson.

· Women's development is discussed from Erikson's generativity perspective, Levinson's (1996) study of homemakers and career women, and Ravenna Helson's Mills Studies.

· A cross-cultural examination of the pervasiveness of the midlife crisis forms the basis for an evaluation of the normative-crisis model for development in middle adulthood.

· The text discusses several important changes in relationships from the perspective of the timing-of-events model, including marital satisfaction, divorce and remarriage, sexual relationships, and friendships.

· Parenting one's own maturing children at this stage of life can be challenging for those experiencing the "empty nest" or adult children returning home to reside with parents. Sibling relationships become more important as people grow older and are often found to be the longest-lasting relationships in most people's lives. Research studies also review the impact of caring for aging parents--with particularly demanding consequences for daughters and daughters-in-law.

· The chapter concludes with a cross-cultural discussion of the changes that occur as a result of caring for aging and often infirm parents--or to the other extreme--caring for or raising one's grandchildren.




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