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Janet Belsky

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Janet Belsky s Experiencing the Lifespan, 2e Chapter 12: Midlife Robin Lee, Middle Tennessee State University – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Janet Belsky


1
Janet Belskys Experiencing the Lifespan, 2e
  • Chapter 12
  • Midlife

Robin Lee, Middle Tennessee State University
2
Midlife Setting the Context
  • This stage typically runs from 40s to the 60s.
  • Research found that half of people in their 60s
    and early 70s consider themselves middle-aged.
  • Characterized by diversity regarding lifestyles
    and perceptions
  • A 40-year-old with a chronic age-related disease
    might call be considered old.
  • An 80-year-old who is still at the peak of her
    career might consider herself middle-aged.

3
Questions regarding personality
  1. Does personality change over time?
  2. Does entering new stages of life or having
    significant life experiences change personality?
  3. Do people become more confident with age?

4
Does personality change over time?
  • Personality contradictory views that are both
    correct depending on circumstances
  • No change (personality remains the same)
  • Change occurs in new stages of life due to life
    experiences
  • Temperamental dispositions begin to stabilize by
    mid-20s
  • Neuroticism
  • Extraversion
  • Openness to experience
  • Conscientiousness
  • Agreeableness.
  • Positive traits (agreeableness, conscientious)
    actually tend to strengthen with age.

5
Temperamental dispositions
  • Neuroticism
  • Tendency toward mental health vs. psychological
    disturbance
  • resilient, stable and well-adjusted vs. hostile
    and high-strung
  • Extraversion
  • Outgoing attitudes (warmth, gregariousness)
  • Social and friendly
  • Openness to experience
  • Tendency to be risk-takers, seeking out new
    experiences
  • Conscientiousness
  • Industrious worker
  • Hardworking, self-disciplined, reliable vs.
    erratic, irresponsible, forgetfulness
  • Tend to live longer
  • Agreeableness
  • Kindness, empathy, ability to compromise
  • Pleasant, loving, easy to get along with vs.
    stubborn, hot-tempered, prone to fights

6
Eriksons Psychosocial Stage Generativity
  • Generativity focus on nurturing the next
    generation and enriching the lives of others
  • If generativity is not achieved, stagnation
    occurs, having no sense of purpose in life.
  • Dan McAdams (2001) research focused on
    scientifically testing the ideas of Erikson.
  • Measures of generativity included
  • Generative attitudes
  • Generative goals and priorities
  • Generative activities

7
Does entering new stages of life or having
significant life experiences change personality?
  • Highly generative people rate their lives as much
    more fulfilling than non-generative people.
  • Life events such as grand parenting are positive
  • Less generative people report worrying about
    getting older
  • Highly generative people have a positive impact
    on their children.
  • Highly generative people report having positive
    childhoods.
  • In telling their life stories highly generative
    people
  • Describe redemption sequences bad events
    that turned out for the good
  • Describe a commitment script childhood memories
    of feeling special and an enduring generative
    mission

8
Understanding Highly Generative people
  • Exceptionally generative people prize-winning
    community activists interested in improving
    society
  • Have a strong sense of agency (personal power)
    and motivation to do good
  • Tend to be more forgiving toward parents
  • Can deal better with adversity
  • Generativity is expressed in different ways
    depending on culture and gender
  • African Americans are more likely to be unusually
    generative.
  • Perhaps dealing with traumas (such as
    discrimination) can make us more caring people.

9
Do people become more confident with age?
  • In a longitudinal study, women reported getting
    more self confident in midlife and that the 50s
    was their prime of life.
  • People in their 60s can be more upbeat an have a
    more of a benevolent worldview.
  • Middle-age people also tend to extend more
    positive feelings in their relationships.
  • Women who were relatively mature in their 20s
    tended to grow most with age.

10
Exploring Intelligence
  • Based on research conducted in the 1960a
    psychologist believe that intelligence peaks at
    age 20 and then begins to decline.
  • Used the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS)
  • This research was flawed due to not taking into
    consideration level of education.
  • Most middle-aged or elderly in the study were
    less likely to have completed high school.

11
Improving the research on Intelligence The
Seattle Longitudinal Study
  • Improvements to the research combining both
    longitudinal and cross-sectional methods
  • Controls for the biases of each research
    technique
  • Findings
  • Overall intelligence peaks in the late 40s and
    early 50s.
  • Age patterns differ for different tests. On a
    test measuring knowledge base, scores rose until
    the late 50s. On tests involving fast
    performance, abilities decline at a younger age.

12
Two Basic Types of Intelligence Fluid and
Crystallized
  • Crystallized intelligence Accumulated knowledge
  • Tends to increase with age, until about late 50s
  • Then begins to fall
  • Fluid intelligence ability to reason quickly
    when facing totally new intellectual tasks
  • Linked to nervous system
  • Because of this link, begins to decline early in
    adult life (not much we can do about this)

13
Applications to Creative Work and All Jobs
  • During midlife in many fields, people are at
    their career performance peak.
  • The most important predictor of our performance
    is enduring competence. Studies of creative
    geniuses show incredibly gifted people are more
    competent and productive at every age.

14
What affects intelligence?
  • Healthy living (lack of major health concerns or
    illnesses)
  • Terminal drop changes in crystallized
    intelligence can predict having a terminal
    disease.
  • Mental exercise
  • Engaging in mentally enriching activities (e.g.,
    reading, attending lectures).

15
Keeping mentally sharp!
  • Develop a hobby or life passion that challenges
    your mind.
  • Preferably during the younger years
  • Practicing is key
  • Throughout life, put yourself in intellectually
    challenging situations and keep learning.
  • In jobs or activities.
  • Pay attention to your physical health.
  • Particularly guard against heart disease
  • When you are having trouble performing, use
    selective optimization with compensation.
  • Selection prioritize- focusing on what is most
    important
  • Optimize work harder in those tasks
  • Compensate rely on external aids to help you
    function to your best
  • Use this approach not just when you are older,
    but at every age!!

16
Post- formal thought A new perspective
  • Does the standard IQ test what is important to
    being an intelligent adult?
  • Is there an adult stage of Piagets theory?
  • Formal operations (adolescents)
  • Postformal thought (adults)
  • Adult form of intelligence that involves being
    sensitive to different perspectives, making
    decisions based on feelings, being interested in
    exploring new questions.

17
Post-Formal Thought
  • Relativistic
  • Adults acquire new life experiences
  • Realize that most real-world problems do not have
    clear cut answers
  • Embrace ambiguities of life
  • Feeling-oriented
  • Means relying on gut feelings to make decisions
  • Question driven
  • Less focused on solutions
  • Thrives on developing new questions and
    considering options
  • Interested in coming up with new questions and
    thinking about the world in different ways

18
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19
Grandparenthood fact sheet
  • Family watchdogsstep in during a crisis to help
    the family
  • Can serve as mentors to at risk children
  • Cement that keeps the family close
  • Gender has an impact
  • Women tend to be more active grandparents than
    men
  • Proximity also plays role in the relationship of
    the grandparent to the family.
  • This role can be incredibly fulfilling but can
    also have problems.

20
Grandparent Problems
  • Grandparents must tread lightly on spoiling vs.
    interfering.
  • Careful not to criticize the parents or risk
    being cut off from visits.
  • Divorce can have an impact on the grandparents
    access to grandchildren.
  • Maternal grandmothers can typically be more
    involved with grandchildren than paternal
    grandparents.
  • Maternal grandmothers may sometimes be
    over-involved.
  • Caregiving Grandmothers have increased in recent
    decades.
  • May take on a full-time parenting role due to
    childs serious problems
  • Tend to be low-socioeconomic status

21
Adult Caregivers Providing Parent Care
  • Parent care adult childrens care for their
    disabled elderly parents.
  • Highly stressful role because it violates the
    principle parents care for their children, not
    the reverse.
  • Usually performed by daughters, unless there are
    no sisters and the dad needs care
  • Typically occurs in the 50s, when there can also
    be pressure to take care of grandchildren
  • Some may still be dealing with pressures of a
    full time job too.

22
What makes parent care easier?
  • An enduring loving attachment to the parent
  • Intensity of care needed
  • Care for difficult conditions such as Alzheimers
    disease can be more stressful
  • Receiving outside help and support

23
Sexuality A fact sheet
  • A myth is that middle-aged people may feel worse
    about our bodies in midlife actually young women
    (as a group) feel worse about their bodies than
    middle aged women!
  • Female changes
  • Reach peak in the 30s
  • Physiologically there are far fewer changes, but
    many women give up having sex due to not having a
    partner (or not being seen as attractive)
  • Male changes (by midlife)
  • Trouble getting and keeping an erection
  • Not able to have sex more than once in a 24 hour
    period.
  • Erections not as intense
  • Physiologically, men decline from a young age
  • Reason for sales of erection-stimulating drugs

24
Menopause A fact sheet
  • Defining marker not having menstruated for a
    year
  • Cause ovulation becomes erratic and then ceases
  • Perimenopause (winding down period) is most
    difficult
  • hot flashes, mood swings can occur
  • Variable symptoms - Some women have less trouble
    others have severe difficulties
  • Post-menopause - vaginal walls thin and
    lubrication decreases
  • Major sexual consequence Intercourse becomes
    painful
  • Effects on desire Also varies
  • Some women report feeling sexier when they dont
    need to use contraception)

25
Menopause Myths and Realities
26
How to keep a healthy sex life
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