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Section 8:

Middle Adulthood
Chapter 15:
Physical and Cognitive Development in
Middle Adulthood
1
The Nature of Middle Adulthood
CHANGING MIDDLE
Age identity younger than the chronological age
- to which group do you belong?
- how old do you feel?
Midlife afternoon of life
- preparation for adulthood, the evening of life
Pyramid represent the age structure of population
Rectangularization similar percentags of peop;le at
different ages in the life span
- promotes longevity, low fertility
rates, and the aging of the baby boomer

2
Physical Development
PHYSICAL CHANGES
Changes:

More gradual

Rates vary
Factors:
1. Lifestyle
2. Genetics
NOTES:
ML is a window through which we can glimpse
later life while there is still time to engage in
prevention and to influence some of the course of
aging

Visible Signs
Visible signs 40s to 50s:
1. Wrinkle or sagging skin
- due to loss of fat and collagen in underlying
tissues
2.

aging spots
- small, localized areas of pigmentation in the
skin
- areas exposed to sunlight, such as hands
and face

3.

hair becomes thinner and grayer


- due to lower replacement rate and a decline
in melanin production

4.

fingernails and toenails develop ridges and


become more brittle and thicker

DEFINING MIDDLE ADULTHOOD


Middle adulthood
Begins at approximately 40-45 and extends to 60-65
Declining physical skills
Expanding responsibility
Balancing work and relationship responsibilities in the
midst of physical and psychological changes
associated with aging
Serious accident, loss or illness
Wake up call
Produce major restricting of time and a reassessment of
life priorities
Gains and losses of biological and social factor
balances each other
Biological influence decline
Sociocultural supports peak
Lasting longer
First confrontation with health problems
Losses begin to dominate
Characterized by individual variations

NOTE:
Baby boomers have strong interest in plastic
surgery and Botox

Height and Weight


Changes:
1. Lose height
- due to bone loss in vertebrae
- men 1
- women 2
2.

Gain weight

Obesity higher risk for hypertension, diabetes and


digestive disorders
Overweight defined as a BMI of 25 or more

- can lead to atherosclerosis


(hardening of the arteries)
o HDL good cholesterol
- when it is high, LDL is low

NOTE:
Overweight or obese in middle age increases an
individual risk of dying earlier
2.

Hypertension
- menopause womans bp rises sharply and
usually remains above the mens bp

3.

increasing metabolic problems


- characterized by hypertension, obesity, and
insulin resistance
- development of diabetes and cardiovascular
disease

Strength, Joints, and Bones


Sarcopenia loss of muscle mass and strength
- occurs in the back and legs
Changes:
1. Joint stiffness
2. Difficulty in movement
20s peak functioning of joints
Maximum bone density mid- to lates 30s
NOTE:
Women experience 2x bone loss.
End of midlife bones break more easily and
heal more slowly

Vision and Hearing


Accommodation of the eye ability to focus and maintain
an image of retina
Changes:
1. Vison declines between 40 to 59
2. Accommodation of the eye declines
3. Difficulty viewing close objects
4. Decrease of visual fields size
5. Increase in eyes blind spot
6. Retina receives only as much light due to
decrease in the size of the pupil
7.
8.

Hearing declines at 40
Sensitivity to high pitches declines first
- men lose earlier

Improve vision and hearing:

control glare

control background noise

hearing dais

Cardiovascular System
Changes:
1. Level of cholesterol increases
- cholesterol accumulate on the artery walls
- increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases
- Two forms of cholesterol
o LDL bad cholesterol;
- when LDL is too high, it sticks to
the lining of blood vessel

Prevention:
1. aerobic exercise training
2. weight control
3. diet rich in fruits, vegetates, and full grains
Why decrease?

Advance in drug medication

Diet

Exercise

Lungs
Changes:
1. Lung tissue becomes less elastic
2. Gradual stiffening of Chet wall
3. Decrease in lungs capacity to shuttle oxygen to
blood
Note:

Lung capacity of smokers drop, if they quit they


drop but never up to same point as those who
never smoked.

Sleep
Changes:
1. More frequent wakeful periods
2. Less deepest type of sleep (stage 4)
Note:

Sleep problems common for those who take


prescription drugs, obese, and have hypertension
or depression.

HEALTH AND DISEASE


Changes:
1. Less susceptible to colds and allergies
Chronic disorder slow onset and a long duration

- rare in early adulthood, increase in


middle adulthood, and become common in late
adulthood

Arthritis leading chronic disorder


- varies by gender
men: fatal
women: nonfatal

MORTALITY RATES
th

Infectious disease top in 20 century


Chronic disease main cause of death

Stress and Disease


THE IMMUNE SYSTEM AND STRESS
Immune system keeps us healthy by recognizing foreign
materials such as bacteria, viruses, and tumors then
destroying them
- consists of white blood cells located in
the circulatory system

Death result of combined effects if several chronic


conditions
Top cause of death:
1. cancer
2. cardiovascular diseases
NOTE:
Men > women

Changes:
1. Immune system functioning decreases with aging
NOTE:
When a person is under stress, the more likely to
multiple and cause disease.
Lower level of NK cells in stressful situations
indicate a weakened immune system.
NK cells type of WBC that is more likely to be present in
low-stress circumstances

THE CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM AND STRESS


NOTE:
Stress and negative emotions alter physiological
process
Indirect connection of CS and stress
Live in stressed condition smoking, overeat,
avoid exercise

CULTURE AND HEALTH


Culture:
1. Migrate health practices change, genes remain
constant
2. Family structure
3. Living conditions and lifestyle
Differences:

AA hypertension, stroke

Latino diabetes

Non-Latino cervical cancer


Problems:

Prejudice and racial segregation


- discrimination and poverty
- support systems

prejudice and discrimination


- immigrants

SEXUALITY
Climacteric term that is used to describe the midlife
transition in which fertility declines

Menopause
Menopause late 40s or early 50s
- cessation of menstrual period
60s postmenopausal
NOTE:
Later menopausal breast cancer
Walking 1 hrs at five days a week lower
depression, anxiety
HRT stroke
Progestin + estrogen cardiovascular disease
Decrease HRT decline breast cancer
Changes:
1. Production of estrogen declines dramatically
2. Decline produces symptoms hot flashes,
nausea, fatigue, rapid heartbeat
3. Loss of fertility
Perimenopause transitional period from normal menstrual
periods to no menstrual periods at all, which often takes
up to 10 years
- 40s to 50s
Influence onset of menopause:
1. Heredity
2. experience
Hormonal replacement therapy (HRT)

- augments the declining levels


hormone production by the ovaries
- forms estrogen, progestin

of

reproductive

estrogen increased risk of stroke and dementia


- lowered risk of hip fracture
Other preventions:
1. regular exercise
2. dietary supplement
3. herbal remedies
4. relaxation therapy
5. acupuncture
6. nonsteroidal medications

Hormonal Changes in Middle-Aged Men


Changes:
1. Decline in sexual hormone level and activity
2. Testosterone production declines
- high triglyceride
- presence of metabolic syndrome
3. Sperm count declines
4. Reduce sexual drive
5. Erectile dysfunction
- inability to adequately achieve and maintain
and erection that result in satisfactory sexual
performance
- impaired self-esteem
- harmed rel. with partner
6. erection less full, less frequent and require more
stimulation
Cause of erectile problems:
1. smoking
2. diabetes
3. hypertension
4. elevated cholesterol levels
Treatments:
1. Viagra increase blood flow in penis
2. Levitra
3. Cialis
Factors that affect:
1. Lifestyle
2. Obesity
3. Smoking

Sexual problems of men:


1. Early ejaculation
2. Erectile difficulties
Sexual problems of women:
1. Lubrication difficulties
2. Lack of sexual interest

OVERALL PHYSICAL CHANGES:


A. Visible signs 40s to 50s:
1. Wrinkle or sagging skin
2. aging spots
3. hair becomes thinner and grayer
4. fingernails and toenails develop ridges and become
more brittle and thicker
B. Height and Weight
1. Lose height due to bone loss in vertebrae
2. Gain weight
C. Strength, Joints, and Bones
1. Joint stiffness
2. Difficulty in movement
D. Vision and Hearing
1. Vison declines between 40 to 59
2. Accommodation of the eye declines
3. Difficulty viewing close objects
4. Decrease of visual fields size
5. Increase in eyes blind spot
6. Retina receives only as much light due to
decrease in the size of the pupil
7. Hearing declines at 40
8. Sensitivity to high pitches declines first
E. Cardiovascular System
1. Level of cholesterol increases
2. Hypertension
3. increasing metabolic problems
F. Lungs
1. Lung tissue becomes less elastic
2. Gradual stiffening of Chet wall
3. Decrease in lungs capacity to shuttle oxygen to
blood
G. Sleep
1. More frequent wakeful periods
2. Less deepest type of sleep (stage 4)
H. Immune system
1. Functioning declines

Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors


Changes:
1. Want sex
2. Think about it more
3. Masturbate more
25 to 29 greatest frequency of sex

I. Hormonal System women


1. Production of estrogen declines dramatically
2. Decline produces symptoms hot flashes,
nausea, fatigue, rapid heartbeat
3. Loss of fertility
J. Hormonal System men
1. Decline in sexual hormone level and activity

2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Testosterone production declines


Sperm count declines
Reduce sexual drive
Erectile dysfunction
Erection less full, less frequent and require more
stimulation

3
Cognitive Development
INTELLIGENCE
Fluid and Crystallized Intelligence
Crystallized intelligence individuals accumulated
information and verbal skills, continues to increase in
middle adulthood
Fluid intelligence - ones ability to reason abstractly

Seattle Longitudinal Study


Seattle longitudinal study
- Extensive evaluation of intellectual abilities in the
adulthood years
Main abilities tested:
1. Vocabulary ability to understand ideas
expressed in words
2. Verbal memory ability to encode and recall
meaningful language units
3. Number ability to perform simple mathematical
computations
4. Spatial orientation ability to visualize and
mentally rotate stimuli into two- and threedimensional space
5. Inductive reasoning ability to recognize and
understand patterns
6. Perceptual speed ability to accurately make
simple discrimination in visual stimuli
NOTE:
Midlife was a time of peak performance for some
aspects of both crystallized intelligence (verbal
ability) and fluid intelligence (spatial orientation and
inductive reasoning)
Generational differences
Decline in memory, perceptual speed, word fluency
in midlife was linked to cognitive impairment in late
adulthood
Cognitive stability change across middle adulthood years
Classifications of participants:
1. Decliners
2. Stable
3. Gainers
Three categories:
1. Number ability

2.
3.

Word fluency
Delayed recall

Neurobiological factors that decline:


1. Regional brain volume
2. Cortical thickness
3. Synaptic density
4. Aspects of myelination
5. Functioning of neurotransmitters
6. Blood flow in cerebral cortex
7. Accumulation of tangles in neurons

INFORMATION-PROCESSING
Information processing changes:
1. Speed of processing information
Action-time task press upon a button as soon as
the light appear
Cause of decline:
1. cognitive
- maintaining goals
- switching tasks
- preserving internal representations
2. neuroanatomical
3. neurochemical
2. Memory
Changes:
1. verbal memory peaked
2. more time to learn new information
3. changes in working memory
working memory mental workbench where
individuals manipulate and assemble
information when making decisions,
solving problems, and comprehending
written and spoken language
Cause: no effective memory strategy
3. Expertise involves having extensive, highly organized
knowledge and understanding particular domain
Strategies:
1. rely on accumulated experiences
2. process info automatically, analyze effectively
3. have better strategies and shortcuts
4. more creative and flexible
4. Practical problem-solving skills everyday problemsolving

4
Careers, Work and Leisure

MEANING IN LIFE
Mans Search for Meaning emphasizes a persons
uniqueness and finiteness of life

WORK IN MIDLIFE
Markers:

peak in position and earning

health impairment limit scope of work

time of evaluation, assessment, and reflection

limitations in career progress

CAREER CHALLENGES AND CHANGES


Important challenges:

globalization

rapid development in information technologies

downsizing of organizations

early retirement

concerns about pension

health care

Most distinct human quality:


1. spirituality uniqueness in spirit, philosophy and
mind
2. freedom
3. responsibility
Four main needs for meaning:
1. needs for purpose
- present event draws meaning from their
connection with future events
- goals and fulfillments
2.

values enable people to decide whether certain


acts are right or wrong
- main form of meaning that people needs

Career changes:

adjust idealistic hopes to realistic hopes

career changes are self-motivated


3.

needs for self-efficacy


- belief that one can make a difference
- control their environment

4.

needs for self-worth


- good, worthy persons

LEISURE
LEISURE refers to the pleasant times after work when
individuals are free to pursue activities and interest of
their own choosing
NOTE:
Constructive and fulfilling leisure activities in middle
adulthood are an important part of this preparation

5
Religion and Meaning of Life
RELIGION AND ADULT LIVES
NOTE:
Women > men
Influence of religion in lives may change as they
develop

RELIGION AND HEALTH


NOTE:
encouraging behaviors damaging to health
religious commitments is linked to reduction in
hypertension
help cope effectively

needs for values


- can lead a sense of goodness or positive
characterization of life and justify certain
courses of actions

Chapter 16:
Socioemotional Development in Middle
Adulthood
1
Personality Theories and Development
STAGES OF ADULTHOOD

Season of a Mans life developmental tasks must be


mastered for each stage
Transitions:
1. Early adult transition
- 17 to 20
- dependence independence
- formation of dream image of the king of life
the youth wants

Eriksons Stage of Generativity vs Stagnation

a.

20s
- novice phase
- free experimentation
- testing the dream

b.

early adulthood
- exploring possibilities
- develop stable life structure

Generativity desire to leave legacies to the next


generation
Stagnation self-absorption
- sense that they have done nothing for the
next generation
Generativity in:
1. biological generativity offspring
2. parental nurture and guide children
3. work skills passed down to other
4. cultural
NOTE:
Parents who were generative had young adult
children who were conscientious and agreeable.
Generativity
Feeling needed by people
Effort to ensure that young
people get their chance to
develop
Influence
community
interest

in
many
or area of

A new level of productivity


or effectiveness
Appreciation
and
awareness of older people

2.

a.

middle adult transition


- 40 to 45
- four major conflicts
o young vs old
o destructive vs constructive
o masculine vs feminine
o attached vs separated
- success: how effectively the individual
reduces polarities and accepts each one of
them

4.

late adult transition


- 60 to ?

Excitement, turmoil, confusion


about my
impulses and potential
(reversed)

Feeling my life is moving well

Having a wider perspective

Searching for a sense of who


I am (reversed)

Interest in things beyond


my family

Wishing I had a wider scope


to my life
(reversed)
Anxiety that I wont live up to
opportunities
(reversed)
Feeling secure and committed

Levinsons Season of Mans Life

Becoming Ones Own Man (BOOM)


- stable location
- more tenuous attempts
- look forward

3.

Identity Certainty
A sense of being my own
person

Coming near the end of one


road and not yet finding
another (reversed)

28 to 33
- determine goals
- focus on family and career

EARLY
ADULT
(17 to 22)

MIDDLE
ADULT
( 40 to 45)

culmintating
life structure
for early
adulthood:
33 to 40

culmintating
life structure
for middle
adulthood:
55 to 60

age 30
transition

age 50
transition

entry life
structure for
early
adulthood:
22 to 28

entry life
structure for
middle
adulthood
45 to 50

LATE
ADULT
(60 to 65)
end of late
adulthood:
60 to ?

HOW PERVASIVE ARE MIDLIFE CRISIS?


NOTE:
Midlife crisis suspended between the past and the
future.
Height of their career midlife
Midlife is not a pervasive crises:
1. Experiences midlife crisis o negative life events
2. Emotional instability of individuals did not increase
3. Their ability to master their environment, autonomy
and personal relations improved.

ASPECTS OF THE CONTEXTS OF LIFE INFLUENCE:


1. Historical Contexts (Cohort Effects)
- values,
attitudes,
expectations,
and
behaviors
social clock timetable according to which
individuals are expected to accomplish lifes
task; guides for our lives

2.

Individual Variations

note:
females family roles are complex and have
higher salience
women more interpersonal stressors
women show confidence, involvement,
security and breadth of personality
male more self-focuses stressors

NOTE:
Experience in some contexts only

THE LIFE EVENTS APPROACH


How to conceptualize adult personality development:
1. Age-related stages
2. Focus on life events
Early version of life-events approach
- life events were viewed as taxing circumstances for
individuals, forcing them to change their personality
Contemporary version of life-events approach
- how life evets influence the individuals development
depends on the life event, mediating factors, the
individual adaptation to life, the life-stage context, and
the sociohistorical context.
Drawbacks: places too much emphasis on change
NOTE:
Greater insight into the source of lifes stress by
focusing less on major events and more on daily
hassles and daily uplifts

STRESS AND PERSONAL CONTROL IN


MIDLIFE
NOTE:
experienced more overload stressors
increase in psychological distress to interpersonal
stressors
self-control decreases

CONTEXTS OF MIDLIFE DEVELOPMENT


Contemporary version of life-events approach
- highlights importance of the complex setting

Gender Contexts
- male bias
- do not address females concerns about
relationships, interdependence, and caring

3.

Cultural Contexts
Gusii culture
Female:
a. infant
b. uncircumcised girl
c. circumcised girl
d. married woman
e. female elder
Male:
a.
b.
c.
d.
e.

infant
uncircumcised boy
circumcised boy
married man
male elder

NOTE:
Middle age of women depends on the
modernity of the culture.
Advantages:

Freed from cumbersome restrictions

Right to exercise authority

Eligibility for special statuses and to


provide recognition beyond household

2
Stability and Change
LONGITUDINAL STUDIES
Studies that help us understand the stability or change
in adult development:
1. COSTA AND MCCRAES BALTIMORE STUDY
- Big Five Factors Personality: OCEAN
a. Openness
- Imaginative or practical
- Interested in variety or routine
- Independent or conforming
b. Conscientiousness
- Organized or disorganized
- Careful or careless
- Discipline or impulsive
c. Extraversion
- Sociable or retiring
- Careful or careless
- Discipline or impulsive
d. Agreeableness
- Softhearted or ruthless
- Trusting or suspicious
- Helpful or uncooperative
e. Neuroticism
- Calm or anxious
- Secure or insecure
- Self-satisfied or self-pitying
Meta-analysis found that:
Results for extraversion were complex. It
was subdivided into social dominance
(assertiveness, dominance) and social
vitality (talkativeness, sociability).
Agreeableness and conscientiousness
increased in early and middle adulthood.
Neuroticism decreased in early adulthood.
Openness to experience increased in
adolescence and early adulthood and then
decreased in late adulthood.

2. Berkeley Longitudinal Studies


- studied more than 500 children and their parents
- results did not support either extreme in the
debate over whether personality is characterized
by stability or change
- most stable
o intellectually oriented
o self-confident
o open to new experiences
- characteristics that changed the most
o nurturant or hostile
o good self-control
- stressed too much on discontinuities

3. Helsons Mills College Study


- studied 132 women who ere seniors in Mills
College
- women experience midlife consciousness
- commitment to task of early adulthood helped
women learn to control their impluses, develop
interpersonal skills, become independent, and
work hard to achieve goals
- women pillars of society
- main groups (female):
o family oriented
o career-oriented
o neither
- main groups (male):
o concern for young and old
o introspectiveness
o interest in roots
o awareness of limitations and death

3. George Vaillants Study


- three longitudinal studies:
a. sample of 268 socially adavantaged
Harvard graduates (the Grant Study)
b. sample 456 diadvantaged inner city men
c. sample of 90 SES, intellectually gifted
women
- categorized 75 to 80s as
a. happy well getting regular exercise,
not overweight, well-educated, stable
marriage, future-orented, thankful,
b. sad-sick
c. dead -alcohol abuse and smoking

CONCLUSIONS
NOTE:
Personality traits continue to change during the
adult years, even into late adulthood.
Greatest change in personality traits occurred in
early adulthoodfrom about 20 to 40 years of age
People show more stability in their personality when
they reach midlife
cumulative personality model of personality
development
- which states that with time and age people
become more adept at interacting with their
environment in ways that promote increased
stability in personality
Personality traits across adulthood also occur in a
positive direction.
Positive changes equate with becoming more
socially mature.
People show unique patterns of personality traits.

3
Close Relationships
LOVE AND MARRIAGE AT MIDLIFE
NOTE:
Affectionate, compassionate love increases
during middle adulthood.
Security, loyalty, and mutual interaction become
more important as relationships more mature,
especially in middle adulthood.
Marital satisfaction increased.
Divorce may have positive outcomes for some
individuals and negative outcome for others.
Main reasons the middle-aged and older women
cited divorce:
o Verbal, physical, emotional abuse
o Alcohol or drug abuse
o Cheating
Main reasons the middle-aged and older men cited
divorce:
o Fell out of love
o Cheating
o Different values, lifestyles

THE EMPTY NEST AND ITS REFILLING


Empty nest syndrome decline in marital satisfaction after
children leave home
- increase in quality time of
couples
refilling of empty nest children go back to their house
Complains of children:

loss of privacy

restrict independence

cramp sex lives

reduce music listening

treat them as children


Complains of parents:

home become noisy

worry about children late at night

meals are difficult to plane

invaded relationship

shoulder too much responsibility


NOTE:
Middle generation has always provided support for
the younger generation even after the nets is bare.
Refilling the nest causes disequilibrium, which
requires adaptation.

SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS AND FRIENDSHIPS


NOTE:
Siblings who are psychologically close to each
other in adulthood tended to be that way in
childhood.
Adult siblings provide practical and emotional
support to each other.
Friendships that have endured over the adult years
are deeper than those that have formed in middle
adulthood.

GRANDPARENTING
NOTE:
Grandmothers
have
more
contact
with
grandchildren.
Women tend to define their role as grandmothers
as part of their responsibility for maintain ties
between family members across generations.
Men may have fewer expectations about the
grandfather role and see it as more voluntary.

Grandparents Roles and Styles


Grandparent source of biological reward and continuity
- source of emotional self-fulfillment,
generating feelings of companionship and satisfaction
that may have been missing in earlier adult-child
relationship
- remote role
NOTE:
White, African American, and Mexican American
grandparents had the most satisfying relationships
with their grandchildren.
The grandparent ole is often mediated by parents at
least until grandchildren becomes adults.
Three styles of grandparenting:
1. Formal proper and prescribed role
- strong interest
2. Fun-seeking source of leisure activity, mutual
satisfaction
3. Distant benevolent but interaction was frequent

The Changing Profile of Grandchildren


NOTE:
Grandparent involvement was linked with better
adjustment by parents at least until grandchildren
become adults.
Grandchildren living with their children contributed
to the family income and provided child care while
parents worked.

Grandparents in their childrens home are in


poverty or immigrants. (majority)
Grandparents who are full-time caregivers for
grandchildren are at elevated risk for health
problems, depression, and stress.
Divorce may increase childrens contact with
grandparents.
Grandparents is visitation privileges with their
grandchildren.

INTERGENERATIONAL RELATIONSHIP
NOTE:
Middle-aged adults share their experience and
transmit values to the younger children.
Adult children can perform is to coordinate and
monitor services for an aging parent who becomes
disabled.
Aging parents had health problems.
There has been positive changes in their
relationship in recent years.
Aging parents and children are characterized by
ambivalence.
Positive side: perceptions include love, reciprocal
help, and shared values
Negative side: isolation, family conflicts and
problems, abuse, neglect, and caregiver stress.
Family members maintain considerable contact.
Married adults were less likely to live with their
parents, keep in touch, and give or receive
emotional, financial, and practical help.
When adults immigrate to another country,
intergenerational stress may be.
Immigration involves separation from extended
family.
Child rearing may be out of phase with the
dominant cultures model, which may cause
reverberations through the familys generations.
Most common problems between parents and their
children:
1. Communication and interaction style
2. Habits lifestyle choices
3. Child-rearing practices and values
4. Politics
5. Religion
6. Ideology
Importance of intergenerational relationships:

Child-rearing antecedents of intergenerational


relations, supportive family environments and
parenting in childhood were linked with more
positive relationships.

Motivation of adult children to provide social


support to their older parents was linked with earlier
family experiences.

Adult children of divorce ho were classified as


securely attached were less likely to divorce.

Parents who smoked early were more likely to have


adolescents who became smokers.

Gender differences:
MALE
Involved with wives kin

FEMALE
Closer relationships
More influential