Developmental Psychology Middle Adulthood

Middle Adulthood

A Look At Physical Changes That Start To Occur Between

Ages 40-65


Developmental Tasks

 Losing parents/grief

 Launching children

 Adjusting to life without children

 Dealing with adult children who return

 Becoming grandparents

 Preparing for late adulthood

 Acting as caregivers


Physical Changes

 Most experience good health

 Risk of disability

 Vision

 Hearing

 Joint Pain

 Weight Gain


Impact of Lifestyle

 Risks to health

 Poor diet

 Stress

 Smoking tobacco

 Drinking alcohol

 Physical inactivity

 Chronic disease

 Preventative Measures

 Challenging physical and mental activity

 Weight-bearing exercise

 Good nutrition

 Social resources


Physical Changes: Climacteric (Menopause)

 Loss of estrogen

 The Mid 40s to Mid 50s

 All complete this by 58

 Change in the menstrual cycle

 Other changes

 No more reproduction

 Cultural variation


 Reproductive ability continues

 Lowered testosterone levels due to stress/sexual inactivity


The climacteric and Sexual Expression

 Climacteric affects reproduction in females

 Physical intimacy is still important

 Practicing safe sex is still important


Lifestyle Changes: Exercise

 Exercise helps keep muscles strong

 Reduces stress

 Increases energy

 Weight training promotes bone density


Food Pyramid: February 2005

The New Food Pyramid

The Ideal Diet

 Low in cholesterol (<300 mg per day) HDL/LDL should be 4 to 1

 Low in sodium

 High in fiber

 Low in sugar/starch

 Alcohol in moderation (1-2 servings per day)


Cognitive Development

A Look At Formal and Postformal Thought During Midlife


Formal Operational Thought

 Formal operational thought varies

 Not achieved in all areas

 Tied to experience

 Tied to education

Increases and Decreases

 Increases with age:

 Tacit knowledge

 Verbal memory

 Spatial skills

 Inductive reasoning

 Wisdom? It depends

 Decreases:

 Working memory

 Speed of process


Older Adult Students

 Relevance not rote

 Accuracy over speed

 Minimize distractions

 Harder to learn when fatigued

 Learn better with a slower pace


The Expert Vs the Novice

 Midlife is a time of gaining expertise

 Experts and novices work differently

 Experts: intuition

 Experts: less conscious

 Experts: are better at handling unusual situations


Psychosocial Development

A Look At Psychological Concerns and Relationships During Midlife


Levinson’s Theory

 Does everyone have a “midlife crisis”?

 Why do some people have them?

 What does it look like?

 How long does it last?

 Why is it more extreme than the age 30 transition?