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Middle Adulthood: 40-65 Years Old

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kendra herman

on 16 July 2014

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Transcript of Middle Adulthood: 40-65 Years Old

Middle Adulthood: 40-65 Years Old
Chapters 15 & 16

Physical Development
Common Characteristics:
hair grays, thins
lines on face
curvier shape
life experiences including threatening health episodes (personally or friends)

-Change in time orientation from "years since birth" to "years to live"
Physical Development:
Reproductive System
Health & Fitness
Cognitive Development
*Middle adulthood means expanding responsibilities
Cognitive development
Vocational Life - Cognitive Development
Middle Adulthood Learners
Emotional/Social Development
Half or more of lifespan is over which leads to an increased awareness of unlimited time ahead
Prompts re-evaluation of the meaning of life, redefines roles and identities, reaches out
Emotional/Social Development:
Major Physical Changes in Midlife:
Muscle-Fat Make-up

*Rapid farsightedness between 40-60 years old

difficulty reading small print
weakening of the eye muscle that enables the eye to accommodate (adjust focus) to nearby objects
vitreous (gelatin like stuff in eye) develops opaque areas reducing amount of light to retina
color differentiation is hindered
accommodative ability of lens is 1/6 of what it was at age 20
Presbyopia (literally means "old eyes") lens loses its capacity to adjust to objects at varying distances entirely

increased risk with age
leads to blindness
affects nearly 2% of people over age 40, women more than men
no early symptoms
runs in families, tenfold risk if in yours
3-4x more often in African Americans & Hispanics than Caucasians
estimated 14% of Americans between 45-64 suffer from hearing loss caused by an age-related condition called presbycusis (old hearing)
Age 50 - noticeable hearing loss at high frequencies, extends to all frequencies
human speech becomes difficult to make out
men's hearing declines earlier and more rapidly than women's
associated with smoking, intense noise, & chemical pollutants in some male-dominated jobs
With Age:
epidermis becomes less firmly attached to the dermis
fibers in dermis thin
cells in both epidermis & dermis decline in water content
fat in the hypodermis diminishes, leading the skin to wrinkle, loosen, and feel dry
Skin (cont)
40s - crow's feet appear around eyes
50s - age spots (collections of pigment under skin) appear, skin loses elasticity and begins to sag (face, arms, legs)
*women's skin ages more quickly
Muscle-Fat Make-Up
increase in body fat, loss of lean body mass
on average size of abdomen increases
6-16% in men
25-35% in women
40s - 50s decline of muscle mass

Help? Reduce caloric intake to adjust for age-related decline
Mineral content declines in bones and they become more porous.
gradual loss in bone density - begins in 30s and accelerates in 50s
especially in women: reserve in bone minerals is lower than men's to begin with
Reduction in bone density during adulthood is substantial
8-12% in men
20-30% in women
loss of bone strength causes spinal column to collapse - height may drop up to an INCH!
Osteoporosis - extreme bone loss
Reproductive System
- midlife transition in which fertility declines
Menopause - end of reproductive capacity for women
occurs in early 50's (average)
Women who smoke or have not had children tend to reach menopause earlier
symptoms leading up & following menopause:
physical - hot flashes, night sweats
Emotional - mood fluctuations, increased irritability
*note: A history of depression, inactivity, highly stressful life events increase chances of depression during climacteric
Climacteric for men - nothing like menopause
fertility decreases after age 40, but can still father children into 90s
testosterone production does decline
continued sexual activity stimulates cells that release testosterone
Frequency among married couples tends to decline, but drop is slight
Best predictor of sexual activity is marital happiness
Intensity of sexual response declines in midlife due to climacteric
Evidence reveals that sexual activity in midlife, as in earlier periods, is the combined result of biological, psychological, and social forces
Health and Fitness
Illness & Disability
cancer and cardiovascular disease are leading causes of death in middle age
mean are more vulnerable than women to most health problems
from early to middle adulthood, death rate due to cancer multiples tenfold, accounts for 1/3 of midlife deaths
Text: 5th Edition pg 510
hostility and anger
Type A personalities or behavior patterns are more prone to stress (extreme competitiveness, ambition, impatience, hostility, angry outbursts, sense of time pressure
stress leads to diseases and diseases cause stress
physical and emotional changes cause stress (midlife crisis?!)
negative consequences on cardiovascular, immune, and gastrointestinal systems




What type of person copes with stress?
*There are 3 personal qualities needed to cope with stress well:

Hardiness - health promoting behaviors that make stressful situations manageable, interesting, and enjoyable
Mental Abilities
Intelligence: Crystallized & Fluid
Info Processing
Mental Abilities
Does forgetfulness & confusion come with getting older?
Different aspects of cognitive functioning show different patterns of change
areas of some decline
most stay the same
some attain outstanding accomplishment!
Crystallized Intelligence & Fluid Intelligence
Crystallized - skills that depend on accumulated knowledge and experience, good judgement, and mastery of social conventions; abilities acquired because they are valued by one's culture (this includes job culture)
*Question types on an IQ test that measure crystallized intelligence: vocabulary, general information, verbal comprehension, logical reasoning items
Fluid - basic info-processing skills, ability to detect relationships among visual stimuli, speed of analyzing information, and capacity of working memory
*Question types on an IQ test that measure fluid intelligence: letter-number sequencing, spatial visualization, digit span, symbol search
-Crystallized increases steadily through middle adulthood
-Fluid begins to decline in the 20's
Information Processing
Human Information Processing System
Speed of Processing - declines less than ONE second over time, response time increases steadily from early 20s on
Attention -
sustaining 2 complex tasks at one time becomes more difficult with age
decline in attention might be due to the slowdown of info. processing
Practical Problem Solving - size-up real world situations and analyze how best to achieve goals that have a high degree of uncertainty
Expertise - extensive, highly organized & integrated knowledge base
develops beginning in early adulthood, but reaches height in midlife
leads to highly effective & efficient approaches to problem solving
does not pertain to just highly educated people
necessary in all fields of work
Information Processing in Context -
Cognition gains are likely in areas involving experience
Processing speed varies in situations
Vocational Life-Cognition Development
vital to maintaining previously acquired skills & learning new ones
vary in degree of cognition stimulation
cognition & personality characteristics affect occupation choice
more challenging and stimulating the work, more cognitive flexibility
Middle Adulthood LEarners
going to/back to college, further training
triggered by life transitions (death, divorce, lay-off, move, empty nest syndrome)
60% are women
need support systems for success if she plays multiple roles in her family
Erickson's Theory
Levinson's Theory
Possible Selves
Personality Changes
Gender Identity
Vocational Life
Erikson's Stage of Psychosocial Development
Generativity vs. Stagnation: Psychological conflict
-Generativity involves reaching out to others in ways that give & guide next generation.
-Information, skills, traditions are passed on to children and community.
-The adult feels needed, leaving a legacy behind.
Levinson's Seasons of Life
begins with midlife transition (40-45 yrs)
in order to reassess their relation to themselves and the external world and rebuild their life structure, must confront 4 developmental tasks
1) Young - Old: seek new ways of being both young and old
2)Destruction-Creation: focuses on ways the middle aged person acted destructively, countered by acts that advance human welfare
3) Masculinity - Femininity: Create a better balance between the masculine and feminine parts of self
*How can men do this???
4)Engagement - Separateness: Better balance between engagement with external world and separateness
*Midlife Crisis? Stability and change in self concept/personality
Possible Selves
future-oriented representations of what one hopes to become and what one is afraid of becoming
striving for and attempting to avoid
very important to explaining behavior
strong motivators
1)Self acceptance: both good and bad
2)autonomy: more concerned about self-chosen standards
3)environmental mastery: managing complex tasks
Personality changes, gains in expertise, increase in number of social roles contribute to changes in cognition
3 Qualities Increased From Early to Middle Adulthood
Gender Identity
more androgynous in middle adulthood
increase in masculine traits for women
increase in feminine traits for men
Why would this occur during this age group?
*Women: more confident, self-sufficient, forceful
*Men: sensitive, caring, considerate, dependent
(documented in cultures all over the world)
90% of US middle adults live in families, most with spouse
middle adult phase referred to as "launching children and moving on" - WHY?
Marriage - Divorce
Parent-Child Relationships
Vocational Life
part of identity and self-esteem
increase personal meaning and self-direction
lower rates of absenteeism, turnover, & accidents
because of greater expertise and experience, work productivity equals or exceeds younger workers
Job Satisfaction
psychological & economic significance
emotional engagement = can lead to burnout
development often met with discouragement
"glass ceiling" for women & minorities in corporate world, yet those that demonstrate strength encounter prejudice for deviating from stereotypical gender roles
Retirement/Job Loss
average age of retirement is 60-63
employment downsizing - majority affected are middle aged or older
roles change when children are gone
marital satisfaction strong predictor of midlife psychological well-being
divorce is a life transition; huge social/emotional issues
Changing Parent-Child Relationships
children behind in development cause parental strain
consider cultural differences
more assistance to children than they receive from chidlren
average age is 50 for women, 52 for men
rated highly important by grandparent
significant milestone in middle adulthood
valued elder
immortality through descendents
relationships depend on age & sex of child
trends include more grandparents becoming primary caregivers
care for aging parents (16%)
paid care when distance is an issue
psychological strain because person already has many roles
siblings are usually for social support
contact & support decline from early to middle adulthood due to demands of roles during middle adulthood
family responsibilities decline, more time for friends
if married, often couple based
receive and provide emotional support
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