Developmental Portrait

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Developmental Portrait
Linda Wetherspoon
Capella University
Advance Research in Adult Human Development and Behavior
M.C. Cooper
November 02, 2011

This paper presents an interview conducted with a 52 year old woman. The focus is on identifying the changes or events experienced during midlife years and how these changes affects physical, social, emotional, cognitive, intellectual and spiritual development. The most noticeable change is physical appearance, change in body weight, the eyes increased sensitivity to glare and the inability to distinguish between blues, purple and greens, just to name a few. Socially, how she feels restricted and going through the menopausal years with self-taught remedies due to the lack of information and much needed resources. There are many complicated emotions of midlife ranging from anxiety and fear, to courage, hope and a sense of freedom never before experienced. Change can bring stress, depression, helplessness, loneliness, even hopelessness, or in that same respect, can heal. Behavioral study of midlife has shown very predictable changes. There’s a greater calmness that comes during midlife when you accept that change is inevitable. Intellectually, transitions are very different from those made in your twenties and thirties. The recognition of mortality diminishes the importance of status, success, money and meeting the expectations of others. At this stage, we tend to reflect on the gap between the reality of our lives and the dreams we once had. With the sum of all parts included, this interview uses Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Crisis Theory of Human Development to focus on an individual approach of human development, psychosocial conflict or crisis that must be resolved by every individual to exist in their final stage of life (Erickson, 1959, p.41).

During the interview, Jori specified many changes she had gone through during middle age. These included an increasing sense of boredom with her career which caused her to take an early retirement at 54 years. Her husband makes good money and so she felt that she no longer needed to work. She said he agrees with her decision.

Jori likes being at home but she states that she has put on a lot of weight and that scares her because she knows that being overweight when you are older can lead to health problems. Losses in strength and endurance in old age have much the same psychological affects as changes in appearance (Cavanaugh & Blanchard-Fields, 2006, p. 45).No one dreams about being ugly. Indeed, she worries a good deal about her health and goes to the doctor frequently for various aches and pains. Her doctor has found nothing wrong but she still worries a lot about her aging and attributes a good deal of her worry about health to her parents’ deaths. Both of her parents died within the last three years and she feels that their deaths reminded her of her own mortality. She informs that this concern about death has led her to have a series of panic attacks for which she is now in therapy.

During the middle age period, her two sons moved out of the home but they never went far; both of them only live about five or six miles away. One son was divorced and has not remarried since; while the other son is married to a woman who Jori detests. She worries a lot about this son and what she perceives as the negative effects his wife has had on him. However, she has a good deal of interaction with both sons and they visit her often.

As to how these life changes (death of parents, early retirement, stress over her sons, gaining weight, aging body) have affected her, she reports that physically she has tension headaches a good deal and difficulty sleeping sometimes with many nightmares. Emotionally, she states that she often feels doubtful about what to do with the rest of her life as well as very anxious and fearful.

However, both she and her husband do like to socialize and she spends a good deal of the...
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