Chapter 16 Psychosocial Development in Middle Adulthood

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ACC - Human Growth & Development

individuation

Jung's term for emergence of the true self through balancing or integration of conflicting parts of the personality.

generativity versus stagnation

Erikson's seventh stage of psychosocial development, in which the middle-aged adult develops a concern with establishing, guiding, and influencing the next generation or else experiences stagnation (a sense of inactivity or lifelessness)

generativity

Erikson's term for concern of mature adults for establishing, guiding, and influencing the next generation

interiority

(Neugartens term) for a concern with inner life (introversion or introspecition) which usually appears in middle age

midlife crisis

In some normative-crisis models, stressful life period precipitated by the review & reevaluation of one's past, typically occurring in the early to middle forties.

midlife review

Introspective examination that often occurs in middle age, leading to reappraisal and revision of values and priorities.

identity process theory (IPT)

Whitbourne's theory of idenity development based on processes of assimilation and accommodation

identity assimilation

Whitbourne's term for effort to fit new experience into an existing self-concept

Identity accommodation

Whitbourne's term for adjusting the self-concept to fit new experience

identity balance

Whitbourne's term for a tendency to balance assimilation and accommodation

gender crossover

Gutmann's term for reversal of gender roles after the end of active parenting

social convoy theory

Theory, proposed by Kahn and Antonucci, that people move through life surrounded by concentric circles of intimate relationships on which they rely for assistance, well-being, and social support.

socioemotional selectivity theory

Theory, proposed by Carstensen, that people select social contacts on the basis of the changing relative importance of social interaction as a source of info, as an aid in developing & maintaining a self-concept, and as a source of emotional well-being.

marital capital

Financial and emotional benefits built up during a long-standing marriage, which tend to hold a couple together

empty nest

transitional phase of parenting following the last child's leaving the parents' home

revolving door syndrome

Tendancy for young adults who left home to return to their paretns household in times of financial, marital or other trouble

filial maturity

stage of life, proposed by marcoen and other's in which middle aged children, as the outcome of filial crisis, learn to accept and meet their parent's need to depend on them

filial crisis

In Marcoen's terminology, a normative development of middle age, in which adults learn to balance love and duty to their parents with autonomy within a two-way relationship

sandwich generation

Middle aged adults squeezed by competing needs to raise or launch children and to care for elderly parents

caregiver burnout

condition of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion affecting adults who provide continuous care for sick or aged persons

kinship care

care of children living without parents in the home of grandparents or other relatives, with or without a change of legal custody

How do developmental scientists approach the study of psychosocial development in middle adulthood?

Developmental scientists view midlife psychosocial development both objectively, in terms of trajectories or pathways, & subjectively, in terms of people's sense of self & the way they actively construct their lives. Change & continuity must be seen in context and in terms of the whole life span.

What do theorists have to say about psychosocial change in middle age?

Although some theorists held that personality is essentially formed by midlife, there is a growing consenus that midlife development shows change as well as stability.

What does Maslow & Rogers (Humanistic theorists)

They saw middle age as an opportunity for positive change

What does Costa & McCrae's five-factor model show?

It showed slow change after age 30. Other trait research has found more significant positive change with individual differences.

What did Jung think?

Jung held that men & women at midlife express previously suppressed aspects of personality. Two necessary tasks are giving up the image of youth and acknowledging mortality.

What did Erikson believe?

Erikson's 7th psychosocial stage is generativity versus stagnation. Generativity can be expressed through parenting & grandparenting, teaching or mentorship, productivity or creativity, self-development, and "maintenance of the the world." The virtue of this period is care. Current research on generetivity finds it most prevalent t middle age but not universally so.

What did Vaillant & Levinson find?

They found major midlife shifts in lifestyle and personality. The greater fluidity of the life cycle today has partly undermined the assumption of a "social clock."

What issues concerning the self come to the fore during middle adulthood?

Key psychosocial issues & themes during middle adulthood concern existence of a midlife crisis, identity development (incl. gender identity), & psychological well-being. Research does not support a normative midlife crisis. It is more accurate to refer to a transition that may be a psychological turning point.
Generativity is an aspect of identity development.
Emotionality & personality are related to psych well-being.

What is Whitbourne's theory on identity process?

Whitbourne's identity process theory, people continually confirm or revise their preceptions about themselves on the basis of experience & feedback from others. Identity processes typical of an individual can predict adaption to aging.

What does Narrative psychology find on identity?

Narrative psychology describes identity development as a continuous process of constructing a life story. Highly generative people tend to focus on a theme of redemption.

Does research support Gutmann's gender crossover?

Some research has found increasing "masculinization" of women and "feminization" of men at midlife, but this may be largely a cohort effect. Research does NOT support Gutmann's proposed gender crossover.

Research finds that Ryff's 6-dimensional scale on midlife

has found that midlife is generally a period of positive mental health & well-being, though SES is a factor.

What do survey's find on midlife?

Survey's find that life satisfaction rises through middle age, international comparisons suggest that psych well-being follows a U-shaped curve with lowest happiness levels at midlife.

What role do social relationships play in the lives of middle-aged people?

2 theories of the changing importance of relationships are Kahn & ntonucci's social convoy theory & Carstensen's socioemotional selective theory. According to both theories, socioemotional support is an important element in social interaction at midlife and beyond. Relationships at midlife are important to physical and mental health but also can present stressful demands.

How do marriages, cohabitations and how common is divorce at this time of life?

Research on the qlty of marriage suggests a U-shaped curve: a dip in marital satisfaction during the years of child rearing, followed by an improved relationship after the children leave home. Cohabitations in midlife may negatively affect men's but not women's well-being. Married people tend to be happier at middle age than people with any other marital status.

How do gay & lesbian relationships and friendships fare during middle years, and how common is divorce at this time of time?

Because some gays & lesbians delayed coming out, at midlife they may be just establishing intimate relationships. Friendships may have special importance for gays and lesbians. Divorce at midlife is relatively uncommon but is increasing; it can be stressful & life-changing. Marital capital tends to dissuade midlife divorce. Divorce today may be less threatening to well-being in middle age than in young adulthood.

How do parent-child relationships change as children approach and reach adulthood?

Parents of adolescents have to come to terms with a loss of control over their children's lives. The emptying of the nest is liberating for most women but may be stressful for couples whose identity is dependent on the parental role or those who now must face previously submerged marital problems.

What do middle-aged parents tend to do?

They remain involved with their adult children, and most are generally happy with the way their children turned out. Conflict may arise over grown children's need to be treated as adults & parents' continuing concern about them.
Today, more young adults are delaying departure from their childhood home or are returning to it, sometimes with their own families. Adjustment tends to be smoother if the parents see the adult child as moving twd autonomy.

How do middle-aged people get along with parents & siblings?

Relationships between middle-aged adults & their parents are usually charac. by a strong bond of affection. 2 generations generally maintain frequent contact & offer & receive assistance. Aid flows mostly from parents to children. As life lengthens, more & more aging parents become dependent for care on their middle-aged children. Acceptance of these dependency needs is the mark of filial maturity & may be the outcome of a filial crisis. Siblings tend to have less contact at midlife then before or after, but most middle-aged siblings remain in touch, and their relationships are important to well-being.

How does caregiving affect middle age?

The chances of becoming a caregiver to an aging parent increase in middle age, especially for women. Caregiving can be a source of considerable stress but also of satisfaction. Community support programs can help prevent caregiver burnout.

What roles do today's grandparents play?

Most U.S. adults become grandparents in middle age & have fewer grandchildren than in previous generations. Geographic separation does not necessarily affect the qlty of grandparenting relationships. Divorce & remarriage of an adult child can affect grandparent-grandchild relationships. A growing number of grandparents are raising grandchildren whose parents are unable to care for them. Raising grandchildren can create physical, emotional, and financial strains.

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