Mr. Levinson conducted his research for the book in the late 1960's.
At that time he was a Professor of Psychology in the Department of
Psychiatry of the Yale University School of Medicine, Director of
Psychology in the Connecticut Mental Health Center and Director of the
Research Unit for Social Psychology and Psychiatry.
Early in the book, Mr. Levinson states his reasons for engaging in the
research of male adult development and for ultimately writing the
book. "The choice of topic reflected a personal concern: at 46, I wanted to
study the transition into middle age in order to understand what I had been
going through myself. Over the previous ten years of my life had changed in
crucial ways; I had developed in a sense I could not articulate. The study
would cast light on my own experience and, I hoped, contribute to an
understanding of adult development in general."
The book is completely about Levinson's theory of male adult
development. Levinson acquired his research by interviewing 40 men
between the ages of 35 and 45 from four different occupational groups.
Through his interviews, Levinson believed that all males pass through a
series of stages, each of which presents a different problem to be solved.
The first stage is known as the early adult transition (ages 17-22). The
problem is to develop a sense of independence by separating from one's
family and trying out different lifestyles. This is the stage where hopes and
dreams are formulated.
The next stage is entering the adult world (ages 22-28). The problem
at this stage is to explore and obtain the many adult roles that are needed to
be happy and successful in one's career and relationships. A set of priorities
begin to form.
The age-thirty transition (ages 28-33) happens next. In this stage the
man establishes his role in society, builds a nest, and pursues more long-
range plans and goals. His problem may be evaluating earlier career choices
Immediately following the age-thirty transition is the settling down
stage (ages 33-40). The problem here is to develop a sense of success in the
major areas of one's life, primarily one's career and relationships.
The mid-life transition (early 40s) begins next. The problem here is to
evaluate one's life goals and commitments, knowing that there is only a
limited amount of time to reach them. The feeling that time is running out
may contribute to what is often called the mid-life crisis.
Lastly, entering middle adulthood (middle 40s). Here the problem is
learning to live with previous decisions, such as by becoming more
committed to one's family or career.
I feel that the book was written very well. It went in-depth in
mapping out the stages and the events in each one of the stages. I could
relate to some but most I could not since Levinson limited his research to
only males. I am a female and only 22 so I have just barely entered into the
early adult era. Looking at older males around me I can see some of what
Levinson has stated to be true, however, I just don't believe that every male
is going to go through the life stages just as he says. I think that for the time
when this book was written, Levinson probably did a great job in describing
the stages. Most of the men that he interviewed were born before and during
the Depression. What was true for the men that were interviewed may not
be true for today's 40-year-olds.
By reading this book I can atbest say that I have a more complete
understanding of male adult development.
Levinson, D. J. (1977). The Seasons of a Man's Life. Ballantine Books.
Daniel J. Levinson wrote The Seasons of A Man's Life.
Mr. Levinson conducted his research for the book in the late...