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Middle Adulthood. Adapted from Arnett’s Human Development: A Cultural Approach, 1 st Edition. What changes do people undergo during middle adulthood? What are the “good things” that are associated with middle age? What is generativity?

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middle adulthood

Middle Adulthood

Adapted from Arnett’s Human Development: A Cultural Approach, 1st Edition

  • What changes do people undergo during middle adulthood?
  • What are the “good things” that are associated with middle age?
  • What is generativity?
  • What is a major risk associated with the sandwich generation?
information processing in middle adulthood speed attention and memory
Information Processing in Middle AdulthoodSpeed, Attention, and Memory
  • Perceptual speed declines in middle adulthood
  • Decline in ability to focus attention
    • Disregard the irrelevant information
  • Decline in ability for divided attention
fluid and crystallized intelligence
Fluid and Crystallized Intelligence
  • Two kinds of intelligence
    • Fluid intelligence—information processing, discerning relations and processing speed
    • Crystallized intelligence—accumulation of knowledge
  • Fluid intelligence rises and declines
  • _____________________________
    • Not a large decline in memory tasks
the peak of expertise
The Peak of Expertise
  • _____________________________
    • Experience important
    • Allows for efficient processing of information
    • Leads to automaticity
    • A form of crystallized intelligence
self development
  • Self-Development peaks:
    • Self-acceptance favorable
    • Identity seems more favorable
    • Increased autonomy
  • Collectivist cultures
      • May emphasize relations to others more than self-development
gender issues in midlife
Gender Issues in Midlife
  • Midlife sees a decline in restrictive gender roles
    • India—Middle adulthood women gain position in the family and in religious matters
  • In many cultures women in midlife are still deemed unattractive
  • Cultures vary in women achieving status and authority
more gender issues in midlife
More Gender Issues in Midlife
  • More opportunity but still not equal
  • High status tradeoff
    • Could cause frustration as women have to sacrifice family goals for status
  • Men more flexible in midlife
  • Marital roles more egalitarian but women still do bulk of household chores
empty nesters and boomerang children
Empty Nesters and “Boomerang” Children
  • Mid-life parents have young adult or emerging adulthood children
    • Unmarried adult children at home tend to be welcomed—Southern Europe and Japan
    • Adult children leaving the home is both sad and happy time—Northern Europe, U.S., UK
      • Returning home positive if there are goals
  • Parents still provide financial support
  • Becoming a grandparent is a new role
    • Daily household chores including childcare
    • Involvement influenced by distance, and relationship with in-laws
    • Daughter-in-law relationship important
    • Grandmothers tend to be more involved
    • Role tends to be enjoyed
  • Erikson’s theory—Generativity versus Stagnation
  • Generativity is the motivation to contribute to the well-being of future generations
    • Parenting, mentorship, tutoring
the midlife crisis myth
The Midlife Crisis (Myth?)
  • Jung credited with coining the term mid-life crisis
  • Levinson and Jung believed it a time of feeling confusion and turmoil
  • Research has failed to find consistent evidence of a midlife crisis
  • Negative life events can occur but not specific to middle adulthood

Personality largely remains stable by some measurements

Some changes may occur throughout the lifespan