Mid Life Crisis Among Chinese Men and Women

Topics: Middle age, Hong Kong, Old age Pages: 5 (1622 words) Published: December 4, 2012
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By: Shek, D.T.L. (1996). Journal of Psychology, 130(1), 109-119.


Mid Life is the developmental period that begins at approximately 40-45 years of age and extends to about 60-65 years of age. Though the age boundaries was not set in stone, we will consider middle adulthood as the developmental period that begins 40 years and extend to 60 years of age. This is a time of declining physical skills and expanding responsibility; become more conscious of the young-old polarity and the shrinking amount of time left in life; a point when individuals seek to transmit something meaningful to the next generation; Reach and maintain satisfaction in their careers Midlife as the period when there would be a “struggle” between Generativity vs Stagnation (Erickson, 1968). Erickson 8 life span stages. Generativity: is to assist young generation in developing and leading useful lives for example; give birth, parenting, teaching, leading doing things that benefit to the community Stagnation: The feeling of having done nothing to help the next generation. Career and work are the most important things at this stage, along with family. Inactivity and meaninglessness are common fears during this stage. Midlife is full of changes, twists and turns; the path is not fixed (Gilbert Brim, 1992). The midlife transition (not “crisis”) was one in a set of changes over time, related to stages of personality development (Levinson, Darrow, Klein, Levinson, & McKee, 1978). According to Vaillant, 1997, the forties are a decade of reassessing and recording the truth about the adolescent and adulthood years. Midlife as a crisis, believing that the middle-aged adult is suspended between the past and the future, trying to cope with this gap that threatens life’s continuity (Levinson, 1978)


The portrayal of people in middle adulthood have a "midlife crisis" often appears in the press and media (Chew, 1976; Conway, 1980; Nichols, 1986). Jaques (1965) concluded that midlife people encountered a period of crisis which was triggered by the realization of their own mortality and change in time frame from "time since birth" to "time left to live“ A review of the literature also shows that existing studies have been conducted in Western societies and no effort has to date been made to examine this problem in the Chinese culture. Ho, Spinks, and Yeung (1989), there is only one citation related to the subject "middle aged“and no reported study on "midlife crisis". Different indicators have been used to measure the concept of midlife crisis. In the Midlife Crisis Scale used by McCrae and Costa (1984), items covering "sense of meaninglessness, dissatisfaction with job and family, inner turmoil and confusion, and sense of impending physical decline and death Some negative Chinese cultural beliefs about midlife include: "ren dao zhong nien wan shih ai" (when a person reaches the midlife years, everything is sad); "ren dao zhong nien wan shih you“(when a person reaches the midlife years, everything is worrying)


* The responses would then be used as the basis to evaluate the existence of a "normative" midlife crisis in Chinese people. * There is a definite period of midlife adjustment or crisis (e.g., Levinson, 1978), age differences in midlife crisis have been examined. * Few studies have been conducted to examine gender differences in midlife crisis (Hunter & Sundel, 1989; Reinke, Holmes, & Harris, 1985), the paper examines gender differences in midlife crisis in Chinese people.


The Chinese Midlife Crisis Scale (Shek, 1994) was used to assess midlife crisis. The distribution of the C-MCS items with reference to different areas of midlife crisis is as follows: * worries about aging,

* inability to enjoy leisure time
* a feeling that health is deteriorating;
* a negative evaluation of the parent-child...
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