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Psychological Experiences of Midlife


Affiliations
1 Department of Psychology, University of Delhi, Delhi, India
     

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Increased attention to the understanding of middle adulthood over the past three decades through researches has portrayed midlife in two juxtaposed frameworks: Midlife as a time of "crisis" and Midlife as the "prime of life". "Midlife crisis" is a media and literary staple term, implying that it is the time period of stress and difficulties brought about by turning 40. Reviews of many research studies have concluded that serious emotional disturbance and the intense period of turmoil is exception rather than rule for most middle-aged men (and women).In contrast, the alternative perspective that positive development and experiences accumulate in midlife is reported in scientific literature and academia. Considering the disjunction between the research concept of midlife and the contemporary folk belief, this paper broadly examines the psychological changes and experiences of midlife and how they are perceived. The paper contains different accounts of midlife, involving the psychological aspects of the self, relationships with friends and family, physical health, and the workplace. It starts with the brief introduction about the concept of midlife and reviews the variability in the perceived ages of onset and exit from midlife. A concise description of conceptual frameworks useful for studying the psychological health in middle age is presented. The research evidences of contrasting views of midlife as- a time of peak functioning and a period of crisis are reported. Findings demonstrating diverse patterns of psychological experiences of midlife in physical, psychological, social and career domains are reviewed. Psychological variables optimism, positive affect, resilience and social support- having a positive impact on health during middle age are highlighted.

Keywords

Midlife,Crisis Versus Peak Functioning in Middle Age,multiple Domains of Middle Adulthood
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  • Psychological Experiences of Midlife

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Authors

Vandana Gambhir
Department of Psychology, University of Delhi, Delhi, India
N. K. Chadha
Department of Psychology, University of Delhi, Delhi, India

Abstract


Increased attention to the understanding of middle adulthood over the past three decades through researches has portrayed midlife in two juxtaposed frameworks: Midlife as a time of "crisis" and Midlife as the "prime of life". "Midlife crisis" is a media and literary staple term, implying that it is the time period of stress and difficulties brought about by turning 40. Reviews of many research studies have concluded that serious emotional disturbance and the intense period of turmoil is exception rather than rule for most middle-aged men (and women).In contrast, the alternative perspective that positive development and experiences accumulate in midlife is reported in scientific literature and academia. Considering the disjunction between the research concept of midlife and the contemporary folk belief, this paper broadly examines the psychological changes and experiences of midlife and how they are perceived. The paper contains different accounts of midlife, involving the psychological aspects of the self, relationships with friends and family, physical health, and the workplace. It starts with the brief introduction about the concept of midlife and reviews the variability in the perceived ages of onset and exit from midlife. A concise description of conceptual frameworks useful for studying the psychological health in middle age is presented. The research evidences of contrasting views of midlife as- a time of peak functioning and a period of crisis are reported. Findings demonstrating diverse patterns of psychological experiences of midlife in physical, psychological, social and career domains are reviewed. Psychological variables optimism, positive affect, resilience and social support- having a positive impact on health during middle age are highlighted.

Keywords


Midlife,Crisis Versus Peak Functioning in Middle Age,multiple Domains of Middle Adulthood



DOI: https://doi.org/10.15614/ijpp%2F2013%2Fv4i1%2F49798