What is emotional development in middle adulthood?


What is emotional development in middle adulthood?

Middle Adulthood:

Middle adulthood is a developmental period that begins at approximately 40 to 45 years of age and extends to 60 to 65 years of age. It is often considered a time of maturity in which most individuals want to contribute to the next generation, find value in the meaningful parts of life, and experience a decline in some biological and physical abilities. Research is indicating that middle adulthood is lasting longer than in previous generations due to increased activity in the early stages of development. On the other side, research is also indicating that poor activity and health habits in the early stages of development lead to increased health and physical problems in middle adulthood. There is a direct correlation of health and wellness between the two stages of development which includes physical, biological and emotional health.

Answer and Explanation:

The development stage of middle adulthood is filled with changes. Not only is the body and physical functioning changing, but the social and emotional needs of a middle-age adult changes and becomes more intimate and deeper. During this time, which ranges from about 40 to 60 years of age, people reevaluate priorities in life, seek more value in their choices, and foster relationships that supports one another equally. The balance between the emotional and psychological needs, and the physical and biological changes, often conflict and cause stress during this time.

Erik Erikson and Daniel Levinson have two prominent theories regarding the middle adulthood stage of life. Erikson believed that middle adulthood is the seventh stage of the lifespan; generativity versus stagnation. This stage focuses on the need to pass along wisdom/knowledge/better circumstances to the next generation versus the feeling that no accomplishments were made to pass along to the next generation. For Levinson, he believed that people accomplish phases of life at different times and that when certain phases are not accomplished then a midlife crisis occurs. Both theories evaluate the emotional and psychological impact that changes in life have on an individual and consider the quality of life during this middle adulthood stage of development. In addition, both theories explore the amount of change that can occur with an intrinsic focus on personal well-being and self-care.

The emotional presence during middle adulthood takes on a prominent and important role in life. Relationships become deeper and more meaningful with a focus on time that is spent with those closest to them or with new family that is entering their lives through the younger generation. Emotional well-being takes on a complicated but deep factor in life and actions will move towards nurturing and developing strong bonds. If people feel that they are without close relationships, the emotional stability will vary and may result in additional stress and concern during this stage. In addition, the conflict of moving forward past young adulthood and going to middle adulthood will vary in intensity and longevity for each person. The conflict may cause additional stress and increase the need for emotional support and close relationships for resolution.

Santrock, J. (2019) Lifespan Development. (17th ed.) New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Learn more about this topic:

Levinson's Stages of Adult Development Theory


Chapter 9 / Lesson 6

There has been a lot of talk about the development of children. But, do people continue to develop into their adult years? Psychologist Daniel Levinson thought so. In this lesson, we will look into his seven stages of adult development.

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