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Socioemotional Development in Middle Adulthood

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Janell Satterfield

on 15 June 2014

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Transcript of Socioemotional Development in Middle Adulthood

Socioemotional Development in Middle Adulthood
By: Nancy Satterfield
Life-Span Development EP506
Clarifying Stages of Adulthood
Erikson's 7th stage:
Generativity vs. Stagnation
refers to the desire to impact the next generation in the following ways:
occurs when one feels that he has accomplished little for the next generation.
biological generavity-offspring
parental generativity-nurturing
work generativity-pass down skills
cultural generativity-conserve culture
Research shows that the desire for generativity increases from the 30's to the 50's (Santrock, 2013).
Levinson's theory states that changes in middle-age focus on four conflicts:
being young vs. being old
being destructive vs. being constructive
being masculine vs. being feminine
being attached to others vs. being separated from them
Although men seem more likely to encounter a midlife crisis, only 26% of Americans as a whole statistically deal with a midlife crisis (Santrock, 2013).
The Life-Events Approach
contemporary life-events approach
-Approach emphasizing that how a life event influences an individual's development depends not only on the life event, but also on mediating factors, the individual's adaptation to the life event, the life-stage context, and the sociohistorical context.
Midlife Stress and Personal Control
Research suggests that young and middle-aged adults have more stressors and more stressful days than older adults.
How do we respond?
Women-tend and befriend
Men-fight or flight
Stability and Change
Longitudinal studies that helped define the role of stability and change in adult development
Costa/ McRae Baltimore Study
Big 5 Factors of Personality:
The big five factors are linked to just how old people will live to be (Santrock, 2013.)
Berkeley Longitudinal Studies

Helson's Mills College Study
George Vaillant's Studies
Found no support for the stability-change argument.

Found most stable characteristics to be:
intellectual orientation
self confidence
openness to new experiences
Distinguished family oriented and career oriented women, and those who followed neither path.
Stated that rather than a midlife crises, women experience midlife consciousness.
Linked several characteristics found at age 50 to health and well-being at ages of 75-80 years old.
Our Close Relationships
Love and Marriage at Midlife

What are the two major forms of love?
Romantic love
Affectionate love
Marital satisfaction increases in midlife
Rocky marriages can improve in middle adulthood
72% of middle aged adults that were married expressed satisfaction with their marriage
Socioemotional Development in Middle Adulthood
The Empty Nest
Sibling Relationships and Friendships
Intergenerational Relationships
Services and Strategies
Commitment to Change
Divorce in Middle Adulthood
In middle adulthood, divorce may be more positive for some, but more negative for others.
Statistics show that the main reason individuals wait until middle adulthood to divorce is for the sake of their children's feelings (Santrock, 2013).
empty nest syndrome
-a decrease in marital satisfaction after children leave home, because parents derive considerable satisfaction from their children.
Most parents in middle adulthood show that marital satisfaction actually increases for them after obtaining an "empty nest."
In today's society, the empty nest often quickly is refilled due to the return of children graduating college or children who have had unsuccessful careers (Santrock, 2013).
Sibling relationships continue throughout life. Some may be close or distant, but friendships continue to be important in middle age.
Friendships that have endured over the adult years tend to be deeper than those that have just been formed in middle adulthood
Many adults become grandparents during middle age.
Grandmothers have more contact with grandchildren than grandfathers
The grandparent role and its functions vary among families, ethnic groups, and cultures.
An increasing number of U.S. grandchildren live with their grandparents
2.3 million in 1980; 6.1 million in 2005
Most common reasons are divorce, adolescent pregnancies, and parental drug use
Tends to be more stressful for younger grandparents, when grandchildren have physical and psychological problems, and when there is low family cohesion

Middle-aged and older adults typically express a strong feeling of responsibility between generations in their family.

Often referred to as the "sandwich" or "squeezed" generation because:
They share their experiences and transmit values to the younger generation
Family members typically maintain considerable contact across generations

Mothers and daughters usually exhibit the closest intergenerational relationship (Santrock, 2013).
Most schools are in need of student mentors. Middle age adults are great candidates for helping troubled students, initiating important friendships or providing extra help with schoolwork.
All schools need volunteers to work in many capacities. Any time volunteered to your local school will be greatly appreciated.
Many schools host father-daughter dances, which can help foster a relationship that statistically is not as close as the mother-daughter relationship has proved to be in our society.
As an educator, I intend to promote a commitment of change in the following ways:

• Realize that all my students will be a middle-age adult someday.
Information taught and life lessons learned in my class can equip my students for success in their future life.
• Provide positive relationships for my colleagues.
An environment of friendship, support and advice can be a great source of stability for those experiencing middle age.
• Utilize my understanding of life-span development while communicating with parents of my students.
I must realize that the parents of my students may be experiencing issues associated with middle age. This can predispose a teacher with an air of understanding and knowledge, making them equipped to tackle any problem that may arise as a result of teacher-parent communication and interaction.

Researchers seem to find no spike in negative events in middle age, which could trigger midlife crisis (Nixon, 2011).
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Nixon, Robin (February 20, 2011). The midlife crisis is a total myth. Livescience. Retrieved June 13, 2014 from http://www.livescience.com/12930-midlife-crisis-total-


Santrock, J. W. (2013).The life-span perspective. Life-span development (508-531). New York: McGraw-Hill.

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In forming a base understanding of developmental hurdles that often accompany individuals throughout stages of life, the ability to plan a course of action and a commitment to change can be more easily facilitated and provided. With the foundation of knowledge of such encounters, commitment as a function of an organization can presume to accept responsibility for any situation which warrants action that can provide results-oriented change.
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