annurev.psych.Lachman2004 - 18 Nov 2003 15:3 AR...

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Annu. Rev. Psychol. 2004. 55:305–31 doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.55.090902.141521 Copyright c 2004 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved First published online as a Review in Advance on October 27, 2003 D EVELOPMENT IN M IDLIFE Margie E. Lachman Psychology Department, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts 02454; email: [email protected] Key Words biopsychosocial changes, generativity, health and well-being, middle age, sense of control, work/family balance Abstract The midlife period in the lifespan is characterized by a complex inter- play of multiple roles. The goal of this chapter is to summarize research findings on the central themes and salient issues of midlife such as balancing work and family respon- sibilities in the midst of the physical and psychological changes associated with aging. The field of midlife development is emerging in the context of large demographic shifts in the population. A section on the phenomenology of midlife development presents images and expectations including the seemingly disparate views of midlife as a time of peak functioning and a period of crisis. Conceptual frameworks useful for study- ing the multiple patterns of change in midlife are presented. Findings demonstrating patterns of gains and losses are reviewed for multiple domains: cognitive functioning, personality and the self, emotions, social relationships, work, and physical health. The need for future research to illuminate and integrate the diverse aspects of midlife is highlighted. CONTENTS THE EMERGING FIELD OF MIDLIFE DEVELOPMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 307 DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 308 The Baby Boom Generation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 308 PHENOMENOLOGY OF MIDLIFE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 310 Subjective Age . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 310 Images and Expectations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 312 Salient Issues in Midlife . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 313 The Midlife Crisis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORKS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 315 SELECTED STUDIES OF MIDLIFE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 317 MULTIPLE PATTERNS OF CHANGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318 Cognitive Functioning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 318 Personality and the Self . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319 Emotional Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321 Social Relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 322 Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323 Health and Physical Changes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 324 DIRECTIONS FOR THE FUTURE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 325 0066-4308/04/0204-0305$14.00 305 Annu. Rev. Psychol. 2004.55:305-331. Downloaded from by University of California - Irvine on 09/17/10. For personal use only.
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306 LACHMAN “Thoroughly unprepared we take the step into the afternoon of life; worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and ideals will serve us as hitherto. But, we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning—for what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie” (Jung 1933, p. 108). Midlife, the afternoon of life, as Jung (1933) called it in his essay on “The Stages of Life,” has become a period of great interest to scholars of the lifespan. To some extent the research findings support Jung’s notion that the salient issues and demands of midlife differ from earlier age periods and require adjustments to negotiate the new challenges. Moreover, midlife serves an important preparatory role in the transition to old age, the evening of life. There is, however, much
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