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Major Changes Experienced by Two Midlife Adults

Questions:

1.Explain by Comparing and Contrasting the Major Changes Biological, Cognitive, Socioemotional Experienced by the two Midlife adults you have Interviewed.

2.Critically Discuss the Theories and/or Principles you have learnt in the Chapters on Midlife Developmen.

3.Illustrate and Discuss the most Interesting/Fascinating things about Middle adulthood that you have learned from this Mini Informal Research. Point out one Principle or Idea that may have Problem (in application) for the Singapore Context.

4.Describe Briefly the rationals behind the Choices of your Interview Questions.

The aim of the following report is to apply main issues as well as principles of early adulthood and mid-life adulthood by interviewing two individuals, who are currently going through their mid-life adulthood. Prior to explain the major changes experienced by the two midlife adults who have been interviewed, it is essential to mention that one male respondent and one female respondent have been chosen.

1.After interviewing two of the midlife adults, it has been understood that one of the common grounds of problem faced by both of the selected respondents is physical or biological ageing. The age of the female respondent is 50 whereas the age of the male individual is 56. The interview responses show that for the female respondent, it is becoming hard to accept that her age is growing and that is affecting her physical image. As per the responses, it has been known that the male adult is currently suffering from arthritis and with each passing day, the physical problem is decreasing his mental courage. His response is indicative of the fact that painful arthritis has not been a problem in his early adulthood when he has been still engaged in daily workout. On the other hand, the female respondent has responded that she is currently facing the issue of diabetes, due to which she has a strict restriction on food and is allowed to have a healthy diet only. According to her, in her early adulthood she had not ever thought of maintaining a strict diet and of eating healthy and non-spicy foods. Therefore, the chief difference between her lifestyle at her early adulthood and her present situation is, now she is not even allowed to eat sweets and the favorite dishes she once liked.

It has been identified that the female individual has been facing difficulties in developing “generativity”, which is a significant for the mid-life adults. In this context, it is essential to mention that the desire to guiding the next generation and expanding the next generation’s commitment to family is known as “generativity”. The interview with the female individual has implied that the person is experiencing stagnation as one of the midlife crisis. She is not being potential enough in guiding her next generation as her responses show that she gives less time to her family and gives more focus on her health. Furthermore, her response has indicated that she has not been such ignorant and stagnant in her early adulthood and used to give much more concentration on her two children. It means, presently, her cognitive or mental functions are being highly determined by her ageing process. Her answers are further indicative of the fact that in terms of cognitive changes she is realizing that her mind does not participate or work fast in time of giving prompt response to others. Moreover, she has  realized that instead of giving slow response, her earlier impulsiveness has decreased.  

Application of Ideas and Principles in Midlife Development


On the other side, in case of the male respondent, it has been identified and understood that the person is suffering from the stress of fulfilling the financial demand of his family. According to his responses, he is going to be retired within four years and the increasing pain of arthritis is demotivating his mind. Therefore, he has indicated that he is suffering with the confusion regarding whether to work hard instead of having arthritis to fulfill the demand of his family or to take volunteer retirement and rest. In his case, it has been understood that being the patriarchal head of the family, he is suffering from the financial burden, which is turning worse with his physical ailment. It is understandable that the person could wash off his hand from the responsibility regarding his family. However, his answers are indicative of the fact that in his early adulthood, there had been hardly any time when he had thought about resigning from his designation and losing the capability of fulfilling the economic demand of his family. Contrary to the female individual’s cognitive change, the male participant is losing his patience. He has realized, he is growing the desire of regaining his youth again and becoming more impulsive when being confronted with the truth that his physical ability is proving to be the main predicament for his desire. Therefore, it has been understood that his self-consciousness has increased regarding his physical ailment.

Finally, it has been found out that in terms of socio-emotional changes, the male respondent is currently facing the need to redefine his relationship with others. It has become a challenge for the person to accept the truth that life is mortal as per the reason that very recently one of his closest friends has died due to a major heart failure. On the other hand, from the interview with the female individual, it has been understood previously that she has become less concentrated on her due of generativity. In the final discussion round, she revealed the truth that she is realizing that she has become more isolated after the death of her husband near one year ago. She has realized that she does not want to engage herself in social activities after the death of her husband as she feels alone and embarrassed in front of her friends who are happily married or whose husbands are still alive.         

2.Prior to apply the ideas and principles of physical, cognitive and socio-emotional development on the main challenges faced by the interviewed individuals, it is significant to mention the biological, cognitive as well as socio-economic processes those encompass human life (Kreppner & Lerner, 2013). It has been understood that changes in the physical nature are involved in the biological process whereas in the cognitive process, people undergoes changes in their thinking style and in their intelligence level. On the other hand, the socio-emotional procedure involves transition in the people’s relationship with others and changes in personality and emotion (Sigelman & Rider, 2014). According to Santrock (2006), people go through three of the aforementioned changes through four distinct periods, which are – infancy, early childhood, middle and late childhood, adolescence, early adulthood and middle and late adulthood. Based on the perceptions of some life-span develop mentalists, in the late adulthood, which is classified in young old and oldest old major development and change take place in the lives of the older adults (Barlow et al., 2016).

Interesting Things About Middle Adulthood

Nevertheless, the psychoanalytic theory of Erik Erikson regarding mid-adulthood and older adulthood says that there are two particular stages called - generativity vs. stagnation and integrity vs. despair through which mid-adulthood goes through development (Robinson et al., 2016). More precisely, the development cycle of Erikson’s psychoanalytic theory, says that people belonging to the age group of 40-65 goes through stage seven, which is known as generativity vs. stagnation. During stage 7, people grow main concern regarding their career and family. In the particular age, a person’s responsibility towards his or her family increases in terms of psychoanalytic development. The concept of generativity as coined by Erikson, says that in the mid-life adulthood people particularly thinks that they have the responsibility to be cooperative as well as active in their homes for contributing greater good for the next generation (Côté, 2014). Further, Erikson’s theoretical underpinning says that if a person successfully overcomes the particular stage of mid-adulthood then the person develops one of the virtuous attribute, which is care.


On the other hand, according to the theoretical concept of Roger Gould, people in the mid-adulthood stage develops the ability to settle down, grow tolerance, accept the past and loose negativism. However, the life structure theory by Daniel Levinson on physical, cognitive and socio-emotional development of adulthood says that in the development phase of mid-adulthood both female and male individuals mainly deal with their individuality as well as their work for cultivating skills and assets (Myers & Harper, 2014). In terms of physical development or changes, people experiences varied of physical ailments like farsightedness, difficulty in hearing, menopause, and hysterectomy. According to Santrock (2006), biological changes highly affect the cognitive activities and mental development of human beings. The mid-life adulthood physical ailments consequently influence the mental health, decline the rate of self-confidence, and lead to grow anxiety. The particular effect of physical change on the cognitive mid-adulthood development and the frequent consequence of losing self-confidence are known to be the mid-life crisis (Snyder, 2014).

On the other hand, the theory of social convoy by Kahn and Antonucci says that human individual in their mid-life goes through a stage when their life is found embedded in a personal network of people from whom they receive as well as provide support. However, the theory of socio-emotional selectivity by Laura Carstensen underpins that in the stage of mid-life, adult individuals start to prefer investing vital resources in emotionally meaningful activities and aims (Gur et al., 2015). The theory says that motivational shifts influence the human cognitive processing. According to the theory, motivational shifts are frequent in the stage of mid-life adulthood, which directly influence the cognitive development of the individuals (Burin et al., 2014). Therefore, it is understandable that both of the theories is indicative of the fact that in the time of mid-life adulthood, people tends to invest their time in making meaningful contribution upon them, to whom they are closely related (Scholl, 2013).

However, after having a coherent idea about the theoretical underpinning regarding physical, cognitive and socio-emotional development of human in the mid-life adulthood and interviewing two middle aged male and female respondents, it is understandable that for both the respondents, physical changes have affected their cognitive activities. Erikson’s theoretical principle regarding the stage seven - generativity vs. stagnation can be applied on both of the situations of the respondents. From the answers of the interview, it has been understood that the female individual has contradictorily become more conscious about her own self rather than giving focus on her family. It has been understood that she has not done that intentionally as she seemed quite helpless due to the death of her husband and her new physical ailment – diabetes. On the other hand, her responses regarding the socio-emotional context also have implied that she is unaware about the fact that she is suffering from the confusion that whether to concentrate on her children and family or stay cautious about her physical health. Therefore, it is understandable that she is suffering from stagnation.

Rational behind the Choices of Interview Questions

On the other side, the responses of the male respondent show that the person could not sort out whether to continue his work to maintain economic balance and demands of his family or take voluntary retirement for physical ailment. It can be said that the person’s physical change have influenced his sense regarding generatively, due to which there is a chance for stagnation.


3.From the mini research, several interesting facts have been acquired. It should be said that a deep understanding regarding the possible consequences of socio-emotional, physical and cognitive changes those can take place in the mid-life adulthood has been obtained. However, one of the most interesting things that have been understood from the research is that both of respondents have been going through a mid-life crisis. The interview highlights that whereas one respondent has become the victim of stagnation, another one is found vulnerable towards the edge of stagnation. It has been indentified that both of the respondents are suffering from physical illness, which is highly affecting their cognitive activities.  Both of them are found to be victims of physical changes as well as socio-emotional changes. Nevertheless, after having an in-depth knowledge about the theoretical perceptions regarding the socio-emotional, cognitive and physical development of mid-life adulthood, it can be said that the theoretical standpoint of Erikson’s generativity could not be completely applied to the present context of Singapore. The principle says that in this stage, people starts to take more care of their families. It has been identified that in Singapore, most of the mid-life adults are out of their jobs and the rate of alcohol consumption is also increasing among the mid-life adults of the country (Choon-Piew, 2016).  On the other hand, it has been seen that most of the mid-life adults and old adults of Singapore are living a isolated life (Montsion & Tan, 2016). Therefore, there may have problem in following Erikson’s principle regarding generativity in the current context of Singapore.    


4.The questions prepared for the interview round are strictly formed in an open-ended way due to the reason; the aim behind the interview has been to gather a good extent of individual point of view. First three questions have been formed to acquire personal accounts regarding physical changes, which the respondents are currently facing. Thereafter, the next three questions have been made concerning the cognitive and socio-economic development of mid-life adulthood. The aim has been here to identify whether any of the respondents is the victims of mid-life crisis or not. 

References

Barlow, M. A., Wrosch, C., Heckhausen, J., & Schulz, R. (2016). Control strategies for managing physical health problems in old age: Evidence for the motivational theory of life-span development.

Burin, D. I., Acion, L., Kurczek, J., Duff, M. C., Tranel, D., & Jorge, R. E. (2014). The role of ventromedial prefrontal cortex in text comprehension inferences: Semantic coherence or socio-emotional perspective?. Brain and language, 129, 58-64.

Choon-Piew, P. (2016). CREATING A LIVEABLE CITY FOR WHOM? A CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF SINGAPORE’S RECENT URBAN TRANSFORMATION. In Managing Diversity in Singapore: Policies and Prospects (pp. 173-187).

Côté, J. E. (2014). The dangerous myth of emerging adulthood: An evidence-based critique of a flawed developmental theory. Applied Developmental Science, 18(4), 177-188.

Gur, S., Beveridge, C., & Walker, L. S. (2015, January). THE MODERATING EFFECT OF SOCIO-EMOTIONAL FACTORS ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN STATUS AND INFLUENCE IN STATUS CHARACTERISTICS THEORY. In International scientific congress of pedagogues, psychologists and medics «Charitable WEB-Congress» (pp. 79-88).

Kreppner, K., & Lerner, R. M. (Eds.). (2013). Family systems and life-span development. Psychology Press.

Montsion, J. M., & Tan, S. K. (2016). Smell this: Singapore's curry day and visceral citizenship. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography.

Myers, J. E., & Harper, M. C. (2014). Midlife Concerns and Caregiving Experiences: Intersecting Life Issues Affecting Mental Health. In The Challenges of Mental Health Caregiving (pp. 123-142). Springer New York.

Robinson, O. C., Demetre, J. D., & Litman, J. A. (2016). Adult life stage and crisis as predictors of curiosity and authenticity Testing inferences from Erikson’s lifespan theory. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 0165025416645201.

Santrock, J. W. (2006). Life-span development. McGraw-Hill.

Scholl, W. (2013). The socio-emotional basis of human interaction and communication: How we construct our social world. Social Science Information, 52(1), 3-33.

Sigelman, C. K., & Rider, E. A. (2014). Life-span human development. Cengage Learning.

Snyder, F. J. (2014). Socio-emotional and character development: A theoretical orientation. Journal of character education, 10(2), 107.

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