“Though the age boundaries are not set in stone, we will consider middle adulthood as the developmental period that begins at approximately 40 to 45 years of age and extends to about 60 to 65 years of age” (Santrock, 2013, p. 485). I interviewed two individuals for this paper. Each person was asked the same fifteen questions (Appendix). I interviewed a male and a female who fell in the midrange of middle adulthood.
Generativity versus stagnation, Erikson's seventh developmental stage, occurs during middle adulthood. By generativity Erikson means primarily “a concern for helping the younger generation to develop and lead useful lives. The feeling of having done nothing to help the next generation is stagnation” (Santrock, 2013, p. 23). Both individuals indicated that they were content with the amount of help and mentoring that they had performed for the younger generation. Both are currently involved in mentoring college-aged individuals.
It was in the area of physical changes that they noticed considerable differences from their early adulthood. When initially asked generally how they feel compared to their 20’s, they both responded that they still felt like they were eighteen. It was only when asked about more specific health questions that they confided that there had been considerable changes. The male responded that he started wearing reading glasses at about forty-seven. The female decided to have eye surgery so that she would not have to wear glasses. Even with the surgery, ten years later, she now relies on reading glasses.
In their early forties, both had physicals and revealed high blood pressure, the female also had high cholesterol and the male was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Through diet and exercise both are now off of medications for these conditions. However they both noticed that when they abandon their exercise routines they gain weight and have to temporarily go back on medications.
One area where there was great agreement was their sleeping patterns. Both agreed that they spent more time in bed but it was not as restful. This is in agreement with the physical changes described as “The total number of hours slept usually remains the same as in early adulthood, but beginning in the forties, wakeful periods are more frequent and there is less of the deepest type of sleep (Santrock, 2013, p. 489).
The area of greatest disagreement was the area of midlife crisis. “Levinson (1978) views midlife as a crisis, arguing that the middle-aged adult is suspended between the past and the future, trying to cope with this gap that threatens life’s continuity (Santrock, 2013 p. 512). This is particularly interesting because the female responded that she was experiencing a midlife crisis and the male did not. However, in this instance, the female is still in the workforce and the male is retired. The experiences that the female related closely resemble the conditions of the male during the time of Levinson’s study. In addition to still...