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Daniel Levinson's Theory of the Seasons of Life

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Ayesha Khan

on 22 October 2015

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Transcript of Daniel Levinson's Theory of the Seasons of Life

The Theory of the Seasons of life
Daniel Levinson
- Diverse biological, psychological, and social changes occur in adult life, between the ages of 35 and 45
Research Method
- Biographical Interview
using interviews, researchers surveyed 40 men between ages 35 and 45, selected from a group of college students for an earlier study
Subjects: 10 workers paid hourly, 10 executives, 10 Ph.D. biologists, 10 novelists
each man was interviewed 5 to 10 times for 10-20 hours by one researcher, a follow up interview conducted 2 years after
interviews based on key questions designed to cover certain topics
subjects encouraged to give open ended and wide - ranging answered to tell their life histories
method is called the Biographical Interview
in preparing and analyzing the biographies, a pattern emerged that was formed into a developmental theory
Age 30 Transition
Proposed that the era of early adulthood lasts 25 years
Beginning near the end of high school at 17 years of age and ending with the transition to middle age in the early forties
The eras overlap in a transitional periods lasting four to five years
Two key concepts that occur during the seasons of change
The Stable Period
: A time of consistency without much change in one's life
The Transitional Period
: End of one period, beginning of next
Early Adult Transition
Age 17 to 22
Individuals must leave behind adolescent life and begin to prepare an adult life structure
Life Structure
: The pattern or design of an individuals life
Separation from the family of origin
Emphasized changes in the attachment between adult child and parent (not necessarily physical)
Change to allow the individual to participate in the adult world
Young adult will modify or end relationships
By completing education and starting work individuals make some preliminary plans for adult life
Age 28 to 33
Individuals re-evaluate the life structures they have formed in their early 20's
Re-Evaluation is described as an inner voice that says :" If i am to change my life- if there are things in it that i want to modify or exclude , or things missing i want to add- I must now make a start ,for soon it will be too late"
Individuals might choose to marry, divorce, have children, change jobs (adjust life structure)
Time to "get real" after testing their early choices for a few years before settling down in their 30's
Settling Down
Age 33 to 40
Must establish a place in society
A routine of daily life is established , for example, going to work, picking up kids
Work towards progression in long term goals
Individuals in this stage have much more responsibility
For example, they are parents with children to care for
Entering the Adult World
Age 22 to 28
4 major tasks:
1. Forming a dream and giving it a place in the life structure
2. Forming mentor relationships
3. Forming an occupation
4. Forming love relationships, marriage and family
: is the individuals sense of self in the adult world and is the core of the life structure (asirations)
Dreams can be precise of mythical
Initial choices of occupation, love relationships and peer relationships may support the dream
Many individuals develop relationships wth mentors who support their dreams and facilitate their program
Young adults build and test a preliminary life structure that integrates work, love and community to attain their dreams
: Balance the creative exploration of various options for their life structure that supports dreams
: Possibilities are not known with commitment to determine if life structure is realistic
Daniel Levinson's
Theory of the Seasons of Life

Levinson was a Yale Psychologist
led a major study of adult life to determine and describe developmental patterns in early adulthood - what is the pattern of life for middle aged men
results of the study were published as an academic paper in 1977 and as the book
The Seasons of Life
in 1978
initial study limited to men- woman's study conducted from 1979 - 1982 to determine whether the pattern of development was the same or different than men
Mid -Life Transition
Age 40 to 45
Can be a difficult period
Life structure may be questioned and life is deeply evaluated
How society views the individual may change
Values and what the individual regards as important may evolve
A new life structure may be created during the period
Individuals think about later life and leaving behind a legacy
Entering Middle Adulthood
Age 45 to 50
Choices must be made about an individuals future
People begin to commit to new tasks
Continue to think about the legacy they want to leave behind
Late Adulthood
Age 60 +
Individuals begin to permanently settle down
They do not have as many responsibilities as before
Period of reflection
Reflect on their life and the decisions they have made
How the Theory is appicable to Family Studies:
Helps society understand how a person can leave the family, not permanently, and begin to live a life of their own.
Focuses on young adults will soon find themselves transitioning into the adult world.
The seasons can be used to study how a person grows and becomes an adult.
The theory also focuses on marriage, starting a family, career (change?), and late adulthood.
Every person makes a transition from youth to adulthood. Majority are in highschool.
Conclusion: there is a common series of age - linked periods in adult life for men that Levinson called "seasons" or "eras". The Conclusion of the follow up woman's study shows that age-linked seasons are the same as those for men, but gender differences exist because of different roles of men and women in North America
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