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Physical and Cognitive Development in Middle Adulthood


Chapter 13 Physical and Cognitive Development in Middle Adulthood – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Physical and Cognitive Development in Middle Adulthood

Chapter 13
  • Physical and Cognitive Development in Middle

Changing Midlife
  • Today, many 50-year-olds are in better shape,
    more alert, and more productive than 40-year-olds
    a generation or two ago
  • Middle age is starting later and lasting longer
  • Jung -- Midlife is the afternoon of life
  • Increasing percentage of population is made up of
    middle-aged and older adults
  • Best-educated and most affluent cohort

Defining Middle Adulthood
  • Middle adulthood -- developmental period
    beginning about 40 and extending to 6065 years
  • period of declining physical skills and
    increasing responsibility
  • shrinking time left in life
  • reach and maintain satisfaction in career
  • individuals make choices

Gains and Losses
  • Late midlife may be characterized by the loss of
    a parent, the last child leaving the home,
    becoming a grandparent, preparation for
    retirement, and actual retirement
  • Overall, gains and losses may balance each other
    in midlife
  • losses may begin to dominate gains for many
    individuals in late midlife
  • Midlife is characterized by individual variations

Physical Changes
  • Some of the visible signs
  • Skin begins to wrinkle and sag
  • Areas of pigmentation in skin produce age spots
  • Thinning and graying hair
  • Interest in plastic surgery, Botox, weight
    control, and vitamins may reflect the desire to
    take control of the aging process

Height and Weight
  • Individuals lose height in middle age
  • Many gain weight
  • body fat makes up 20 percent or more of weight in
    midlife as compared to 10 percent in adolescence
  • almost 1/3 of adults 4059 years are classified
    as obese
  • obesity increases probability of other health
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,

Vision and Hearing
  • Accommodation of the eye -- ability to focus and
    maintain image on the retina declines between 40
    and 59 years
  • more need for glasses and/or bifocals
  • Hearing also declines after age 40
  • sensitivity to pitches decreases
  • men lose sensitivity earlier than women
  • resulting from exposure to occupational noise

Cardiovascular System
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol issues become
  • Womens blood pressure rises at menopause and
    typically remains higher than mens
  • Exercise, weight control, proper dietary patterns
    can help decrease problems
  • Metabolic syndrome is an increasing problem
  • Characterized by hypertension, obesity, and
    insulin resistance

  • Little change in lung capacity through most of
    middle adulthood
  • In late 50s, proteins in lung tissue become less
    elastic, decreasing lung capacity
  • Smokers experience most significant changes
  • lung capacity improves with quitting smoking

  • Beginning in 40s, more wakeful periods are more
    frequent, and there is less of the deepest sleep
  • More time lying awake results in feeling less
  • Sleep problems are more common for those who use
    a higher number of prescription and
    nonprescription medications, are obese, are
    depressed, or have cardiovascular disease

Health habits through the years
  • What are health habits that can contribute to
    lower vitality? How is it lowering vitality?
  • Think of a bad health habit that you or someone
    you know exhibits and think of ways to change or
    manage the habit to become healthier.

Health and Disease
  • Frequency of accidents declines
  • Individuals are less susceptible to colds and
  • Stress is found to be a factor in disease

Chronic Disorders
  • Chronic disorders are rare in early adulthood
  • Chronic disorders -- slow onset and long duration
  • Stress is found to be a factor in disease
  • Culture affects cardiovascular disease
  • (Hertz, Unger, Ferrano, 2006)

Mortality Rates
  • In middle age, many deaths are caused by a
    single, readily identifiable cause
  • Leading causes
  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • cardiovascular disease
  • Men have higher mortality rates than women for
    all of the leading causes of death
  • (National Center for Health Statistics, 2008)

  • Climacteric -- midlife transition in which
    fertility declines
  • Osteoporosis
  • Menopause
  • womens menstrual periods completely cease
  • side effects of menopause vary
  • cross-cultural studies reveal wide variations

Treating Effects of Menopause
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) -- augments
    declining levels of reproductive hormone
    production by the ovaries
  • usually estrogen and progestin
  • negative side effects for HRT
  • increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular
  • Decreased use of HRT has shown a related decline
    in the incidence of breast cancer

Hormonal Changes in Middle-Aged Men
  • Most men do not lose capacity to father children
  • Modest decline in sexual hormone level and
  • Male menopause probably has less to do with
    hormonal change than with psychological
    adjustment to overall decline
  • Testosterone levels decline and can reduce sexual
  • Most erectile dysfunctions stem from
    physiological problems
  • treatment has focused on drug therapy

Fluid and Crystallized Intelligence
  • Crystallized intelligence -- individuals
    accumulated information and verbal skills
  • Fluid intelligence -- ability to reason
    abstractly begins to decline in middle adulthood
  • When studying intelligence, whether data is
    collected cross-sectionally or longitudinally
    makes a difference in results

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Speed of Information Processing
  • Perceptual speed begins declining in early
    adulthood and continues declining in middle age

  • Controversy about whether memory declines in the
    middle years -- most experts agree there is some
    decline, at least in late middle age
  • More time is needed to learn new information
  • The slowdown has been linked to working memory --
    the mental workbench where individuals
    manipulate and assemble information when making
    decisions, solving problems, and comprehending
    written and spoken language
  • Memory decline is more likely to occur when
    individuals do not use effective memory strategies

  • Expertise shows up more in middle adulthood
  • Expertise involves having extensive, highly
    organized knowledge and understanding of a
    particular domain
  • result of many years of experience, learning, and

Work in Midlife
  • Central during the middle years
  • Reach peak of position and earnings
  • Middle-aged adults may experience age
  • May have multiple financial burdens
  • Time of evaluation, assessment, rebalance, and

Career Challenges and Changes
  • Globalization of work
  • Developments in information technologies
  • Downsizing of organizations
  • Early retirement
  • Concerns about pensions and health care
  • Some career changes are self-motivated others
    are the result of job loss

  • Leisure -- pleasant times after work when
    individuals are free to pursue activities and
    interests of their own choosing
  • midlife changes may produce more time for leisure
  • Adults in midlife need to begin preparing for
  • leisure can be a part of this preparation

Religion and Adult Lives
  • Majority of middle-aged adults profess religious
    beliefs and consider spirituality a major part of
    their lives
  • For some, religion is a major influence to some
    adults but may play little or no role in others
  • Females show stronger interest and participate

Religion and Health
  • Researchers have found that religious attendance
    is linked to
  • a reduction of blood pressure and hypertension
  • increased longevity
  • Religion promotes health
  • lifestyle issues
  • social networks
  • coping with stress

Meaning in Life
  • Frankl said that the three most distinct human
    qualities are
  • Spirituality
  • Freedom
  • Responsibility