Mid Life Transition
This research paper was derived from so many magazines, newspapers and a few online sources. This paper examines Mid-life transition. The stages of Mid-life Transition are stated in this paper. We would also be taking a brief look at Mid-life Crises. I was able to derive from my research that there are 5 mid-life transitions we encounter. First is becoming an adult; consist of the nature of development and emerging adulthood. Second is physical development in adulthood; consist of early adulthood, middle adulthood and late adulthood. Third is Cognitive development in adulthood; consist of early adulthood, middle adulthood and late adulthood.
Fourth is socioemotional development in adulthood; consists of early adulthood, middle adulthood and late adulthood. Lastly Death and Grieving; consist of facing one’s own death. This are the 5 mid-life transitions we all encounter from my research. Becoming an adult is the first mid-life transition we encounter. Development refers to the patterns of changes in human abilities and skills that begins at birth and continue throughout ones life span. Development involves growth but also decline; for example, as we age, we are likely to process information less quickly.
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The pattern of development is complex because it is the product of several processes. The first process is the physical process. This involves changes in an individual’s biological nature. The inheritance of genes from parents, the hormonal changes of puberty and menopause, and changes throughout life in the brain, height and weight, and motor skills all reflect the developmental role in biological processes. Psychologists refer to such biological growth process as maturation. The second process is the cognitive process. This involves changes in and individual’s thinking, intelligence and language.
Imagining you as a movie star, memorizing a new telephone number, these activities reflect the role of cognitive processes in development. The last process is the socioemotional process. This process involves changes in an individual’s relationships with other people, changes in emotions, and changes in personality. An infant’s smile in response to her mother’s touch, a girl’s development of assertiveness, an adolescent’s joy at senior prom, a young man’s aggressiveness in sport, and an older couple’s affection for each other all reflect socioemotional processes.
To analyse how we make transitions through the life span, it helps to organize the years into few distinct periods, such as childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Adulthood is often further divided into early, middle, and late periods. Early adulthood is the developmental period that begins in teens or early twenties and last though the thirties. It is a time of establishing personal and economic independence, developing a career, and, for many, selecting a mate, learning to live with someone in an intimate way, starting a family, and rearing children.
Middle adulthood is the developmental period from approximately 40 years of age to about 60. It is a time of expanding personal and social involvement and responsibility; of assisting the next generation in becoming competent, mature individuals; and of reaching and maintaining satisfaction in a career. Late adulthood is the developmental period that begins in the sixties and last until death. A person’s personal goals and priorities are likely to change over the course of these periods (Cantor & Blanton, 1996).
One cross-sectional study assessed the life investments of 25 to 105 years olds (Staudinger, 1996; Staudinger and Fleeson, 1996). From 25 to 34 years of 34 years of age, participants said that they personally invested more time in work, friends, family, and independence, in that order. From 35 to 54 and 55 to 65 years of age, family became more important than friends in terms of their personal investment. Little changed in the priorities for 70 to 84years old, but for those in 85 to 105 years old, health became the most important personal investment. Thinking about life showed up for the first time on the list of priorities or 85 to 105 years old. Other researchers have found similar ratings for life domains across the life span (Heckhausen, 2002). When nearly 170,000 people in 16 countries were surveyed, no differences in their happiness from adolescence into late adulthood years were found (Inglehart, 1990). About the same percentage of people in each age group, slightly less than 20 percent reported that they were very happy. Emerging adulthood is the term now given to the transition from adolescence to adulthood (Arnett, 2000, 2004). The age range for emerging adulthood is approximately 18 to 25 years of age.
An important transition occurs from adolescence to adulthood (Eccles, 2004; Lefkowitz & others, 2004). The transition from childhood to adolescence begins with the onset of pubertal maturation, while the transition from adolescence to adulthood is determined by cultural standards and experiences. Experimentation and exploration characterize emerging adult. At this point in their development, many individuals are still exploring which career path they want to follow, what they want their identity to be, and what life style they want to adopt (Reifman, Arnett, & Colwell, 2003).
Physical development in adulthood is the second mid-life transition we encounter. In early adulthood, most adult’s reach the peak of their physical development and are the healthiest during their twenties (Payne & Isaacs, 2005). For athletes, not only at Olympic level but also the average athlete, performance peaks in their twenties, especially for strength and speed events (Schultz & Curnow, 1998). Early adulthood is when many skills begin to decline. The decline in strength and speed is often noticeable in the thirties.
Perhaps because of their robust physical skills an overall health, young adults rarely recognize that bad eating habits, heavy drinking, in early adulthood can impair their health as they age (Bachman & other, 2002). In Middle adulthood, physical changes include appearances. By the forties or fifties, the skin begins to wrinkle and sag because of a loss of fat and collagen in underlying tissues. Small, localised areas of pigmentation in the skin produce age spots, especially in areas exposed to sunlight, such as the hands and face.
Hair becomes thinner and greyer due to lower replacement rate and decline in melanin production. Individuals actually begin to lose height in middle age and many gain weight. Adults lose about one-half inch of height per decade beginning in their forties (Memmler & others, 1995). For women, entering middle age also means that menopause will occur soon. Usually in late forties or early fifties, the production of estrogens by the ovaries declines dramatically, and a woman’s menstrual periods cease completely.
The average age at which women have their last periods is 52, but 10 percent of women undergo menopause before age 40. The loss of fertility is an important marker for women, and its approach means that they must make final decisions about having children (Sommer, 2001). Some women report depression and irritability, but in some instances these feelings are related to other circumstances in women’s lives, such as becoming divorced, losing a job (Dickson, 1990; Steiner, Dunn, & Born, 2003). For most women menopause doesn’t produce psychological or physical problems (McKinlay & McKinlay, 1984).
Men do experience sex-related hormone declines in their fifties and sixties, but they are usually not as precipitous as the estrogens decline in women (Hyde & DeLamater, 2005). In late adulthood, changes in physical appearances become more pronounced in older adults, including wrinkles and aging spots. Whereas weight often increases in middle, it frequently declines after 60 because of muscle loss. Blood pressure often rises in older adults. Normal aging also brings some loss of bone tissue.
When the loss is severe, the result is “osteoporosis”, a disease that makes bones easy to fracture and slow to heal (Dolan & others, 2004; Hauselmann & Rizzoli, 2003; Mirza & Prestonwood, 2004). The list of physical deteriorations may sound rather dismal. However, substantial portions of individuals even over the age of 85 are still robust and active. Researchers continue to document how effective exercise is in slowing the aging process and helping older adults function in the society (Dejong & Franklin, 2004; Holahan & Suzuki, 2004; Schutzer & Graves, 2004).
Cognitive development in adulthood is the third mid-life transition. In early adulthood, the work of Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980) offers one way to address these questions. Piaget argued that we actively construct our understanding of the world and that as we develop; we go through distinctive stages of cognitive development. At each stage of development, according to Piaget, people come to think in a qualitatively different way.