Multiple Clocks Old norms and beliefs about aging have become outdated People have children later, marry later, change careers, etc…
Personality Throughout Adulthood Circumstances Contributing to Personality • Genes • Parental Practices • Culture • Adult Circumstances • Of these four, genes are probably the most influential, according to longitudinal studies. • Since genes do not change from conception through death, it is not surprising that every study finds substantial continuity in personality.
Personality throughout Adulthood The Big Five • Openness • Imaginative, curious, artistic, creative, open to new experiences • Conscientiousness • Organized, deliberate, conforming, self-disciplined • Extroversion • Outgoing, assertive, active • Agreeableness • Kind, helpful, easygoing, generous • Neuroticism • Anxious, moody, self-punishing, critical
Major Developmental Theories of Adulthood EriksonandMaslow Erikson IdentityvsRole Confusion IntimacyvsIsolation GenerativityvsStagnation IntegrityvsDespair Maslow Hierarchy of Needs • In his later years, Maslow reassessed his final level, self-actualization. He suggested another level after that, called self-transcendence, not attained till late in life.
Midlife Crisis MythIdentity versus Role Confusion • A supposed period of unusual anxiety, radical self-reexamination, and sudden transformation • Once widely associated with middle age but that actually had more to do with developmental history. • Popularized by Gail Sheehy (1976) and Daniel Levinson (1978).
Intimacy versus Isolation • Intimacy needs are lifelong. • Adults meet their need for social connection through their relationships with relatives, friends, coworkers, and romantic partners. • Social convoy • Collectively, the family members, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers who move through life with an individual. Friends: most crucial members of the social convoy • Often able to provide practical help and useful advice when serious problems—death of a family member, personal illness, loss of a job—arise.
Family BondsIntimacy versus Isolation Parents & Adult Children • Over the years of adulthood, parents and adult children typically increase in closeness, forgiveness, and pride as both generations gain maturity. Adult Siblings • Adult siblings also often become mutually supportive in adulthood. • Familism • The belief that family members should support one another, sacrificing individual freedom and success, if necessary, in order to preserve family unity.
Family BondsIntimacy versus Isolation • Family closeness can sometimes be destructive. • Some adults wisely keep their distance from their blood relatives. • Fictive kin • Someone who is accepted as part of a family to which there is no blood relation • Adults need kin, fictive or otherwise.
Committed PartnersIntimacy versus Isolation • Adults everywhere seek committed sexual partnerships to help meet their needs for intimacy as well as to raise children, share resources, and provide care when needed. • Less than 15 percent of U.S. residents marry before age 25, but by age 40, 85 percent have married. • Married people are a little happier, healthier, and richer than never-married ones—but not by much.
Empty NestIntimacy versus Isolation Empty nest • The time when parents are alone again after their children have moved out and launched their own lives • Contrary to outdated impressions, often improves a relationship. • Most long-married people stay together because they love and trust each other, not simply because they are stuck.
Divorce and Separation • Adults are affected (for better or for worse) by divorce in ways they never anticipated. • Generally, those in very distressed marriages are happier after divorce, while those in merely distant marriages (most U.S. divorces) are less happy than they thought they would be. • Divorce reduces income, severs friendships, and weakens family ties.
Caregiving:Generativity versus Stagnation • Some caregiving involves meeting another person’s physical needs—feeding, cleaning, and so on—but much of it has to do with fulfilling another person’s psychological needs. • Kinkeeper • A caregiver who takes responsibility for maintaining communication among family members.
Caring for Nonbiological Children:Generativity versus Stagnation • Roughly one-third of all North American adults become stepparents, adoptive parents, or foster parents. • Many adopted or foster children remain attached to their birth parents. • If children are not attached to anyone (ie. after spending years in an institution), they are mistrustful of all adults and fearful of becoming too dependent.
Caring for Aging Parents:Generativity versus Stagnation Sandwich Generation • The generation of middle-aged people who are supposedly “squeezed” by the needs of the younger and older members of their families. • In reality, some adults do feel pressured by these obligations, but most are not burdened by them, either because they enjoy fulfilling them or because they choose to take on only some of them or none of them.
Working for More Than Money:Generativity versus Stagnation Work meets generativity needs by allowing people to do the following: • Develop and use their personal skills • Express their creative energy • Aid and advise coworkers, as a mentor or friend • Support the education and health of their families • Contribute to the community by providing goods or services Between ages 25 and 42, the average U.S. worker has five separate employers.
Late Adulthood Generally, older adults are quite active. Though some cognitive process slow-down, most individual in late adulthood find this phase of life a time of hope, expansion, and continued personalgrowth.
Late Adulthood: Cognition The Aging Brain Effects of senescence: - Reduced production of neurotransmitters - Myelination thins - Corpus Callosum reduced - Cerebral blood circulates more slowly Results: - Overall brain slow down in reaction times, talking, and thinking
Late Adulthood: Cognition The Aging Brain Older Adults use more parts of their brains to solve problems. • Compensation Using one part for complex thinking is inadequate • Reduced Brain Reserves Cognitive reserves combine for relatively moderate cognitive tasks. • Wandering Mind Using more parts of the brain can cause wandering, intrusions, and irrelevant comments
Late Adulthood The Aging Brain: Erikson & Maslow Older adults tend to gain more interest in the arts, children, and in the human experience as a whole. Eriksons - Vital Involvement Maslow – Self-Actualization Characterized by aesthetic, creative, philosophical, and spiritual understanding
Late Adulthood: Psychosocial Erikson’s Final Stage: Integrity versus Despair Integrity as a feeling of being whole (not scattered) and comfortable with oneself. Older adults seek to integrate their unique self with their vision of community.
Stratification Theories Focuses on the relationship between social forces and the individual. Specifically, the consequences of social forces placing the older person in a category or role. Categorization can limit people throughout their lives. • Stratification by Age • Stratification by Gender • Stratification by Ethnicity These accumulate throughout a person’s life.
Predjudice Agism is the idea that age determines who you are. Stereotype threat can be debilitating for older adults. Agism can lead to depression and illness. Elderspeak…talking to older adults as if they are children. Simple slow speech & exaggerated phrases
Older Adults Gerentologist distinguish between three groups of older adults: Young-old, old-old, oldest-old Young-old (Optimal Aging) typically 60-75healthy, active, financially secure, independent Make up the largest group of older adults
Older Adults Old-old (Usual Aging) age varies suffer from some reductions in physical or mental ability or in social support, but they can still take care of themselves Oldest-old (Pathological Aging)varies/over 85 Are infirm and at risk for illness and injury