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Erikson in Adulthood and Older Adulthood

Topics: Marriage, Sociology / Pages: 3 (653 words) / Published: Dec 29th, 2012
Erikson’s Crises in Adulthood and Older Adulthood

* Generativity vs. Stagnation (Interest in establishing and guiding the next generation) * Child birth, caring about others, believing in the human species * Volunteer for organizations or mentoring at work * Stagnation – self-indulgence, boredom, lack of psychological growth * Midlife Crises – no support in research; more of a cohort effect (started in 1970’s – teens were anti-society and disownment of adults, women’s rights, workplace) * Integrity vs. Despair (Acceptance of the limitations of life, sense of being larger part of history, high-level being at peace with your life’s path) * Despair – Close to the end of one’s life, one has regrets; worried about themselves then society as a whole.

Hierarchy of Human Needs * Maslow – Stage theory but not linked to age (linked to success of previous stage) – * Self-Actualization (morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts) * Esteem (self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of/by others) * Love/Belonging (Friendship, family, sexual intimacy) * Safety (security of body, employment, resources, morality, family, health, property) * Physiological (breathing, eating, etc.)

Emotional Experiences in Adulthood * Self Theories – Each person ultimately depends on him/herself * As people get older, they get happier (findings constant even after controlling for gender, marital status, extraversion, health) * Erikson Theory * Socioeconomic Selectivity Theory * When time is not limited, individuals focus on information gathering, meeting new acquaintances. * When time is limited, individuals become more selective and focus in on goals and activities that are emotionally salient (Positive). * Older adults preferred to spend 30 min with familiar partners whether or not they were “moving across the country” * People with a limited time perspective prefer to spend time with close social partners instead of meeting new people * Older adults, HIV patients, graduating seniors, crises-stricken countries * Extending Future Time Perspective * Older adults will choose novel partners just as much as familiar ones if their lives were extended by 20 years * Greater positivity bias when viewing and remembering positive/negative images * Stratification Theory – Emphasizes importance of culture, social forces, limits individual’s choices and affects ability to function. * Disengagement Theory – as people grow older, traditional roles become unavailable or unimportant, the social circle shrinks, coworkers stop asking for help * Activity Theory – Seek to remain active and involved with relatives.

Romantic Relationships of Older Adults * Marriage is one of the greatest investments for happiness (good marriages, happier, healthier, richer) * Things get better (Empty Nest Syndrome) * Divorce and Separation – decrease happiness since less money/self-esteem/friendships/family ties * Predictors of Divorce: * Social structural (Young age, few years married, low/no church attendance, remarriage for one/both, both spouses’ parents divorced * Reported behavior of couples (Jealousy, moodiness, infidelity, irritating habits, spending money foolishly, drinking or using drugs) * Starts long before actual separation and does not end until long after papers are filed * Research suggests women suffer more than men, but dads can be really hurt * Income, self-esteem, welfare are lower among divorcees even compared to people who were never married. * Half of all US marriages are remarriages with divorcees, but women with children are less likely to do it * Happiness increases for first few years, but does not endure (stepchildren, stability of personality) * Emotional and practical problems of aging protected against by committed spouse * Give-and-take, discussions not fights * Widowhood in late adulthood * 50% of women over 65 are widowed whereas 15% of men are * Widowhood is a harder adjustment for men, since they typically relied on their wives for social connectedness.

Friendships in Older Adulthood * Social network generally pruned, fewer friendships * True friends can give practical and emotional advice * Acquaintances – consequential strangers * Continue to be critical part of social health and well-being * Especially given widowhood and other such natural developments * Many are not aware of how important friends are until they lose them * Numbers continually get smaller by necessity, but it is quality not quantity of friendships that is critical for older adults.

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