Chapter 13 – Psych

Erickson’s stages
– Erikson originally envisioned eight stages of development, which occur in sequence from birth through old age.

– Three of his stages cover the years after adolescence.

– Later in his life, Erikson stressed that stages and ages do not occur in lockstep.

Maslow’s stages
Abraham Maslow (1954) described five stages, which occur in sequence.

Movement occurs when people have satisfied their needs at one level and are ready for the next step.

In his later years, Maslow reassessed his final level, self-actualization.

He suggested another level after that, called self-transcendence.

The social clock
Developmental timetable based not on biological maturation but on social norms

Set the stages of life and the behaviors considered appropriate to each of them

Some ages set by the social clock are enacted into law, in the form of minimal ages for driving, drinking, voting, getting married, signing a mortgage, and being entitled to retirement benefits

Midlife crisis
No current theorist sets chronological boundaries for specific stages of adult development.

Middle age, if it exists, can begin at age 35 or 50.

Time of anxiety and radical change as age 40 approaches

Men, in particular, were said to leave their wives, buy red sports cars, and quit their jobs because of midlife panic.

Personality throughout adulthood
Genes, parental practices, culture, and adult circumstances all contribute to personality.

Of these four, genes are probably the most influential, according to longitudinal studies.

Since genes do not change from conception through death, every study finds substantial continuity in personality.

The Big Five
– Openness: Imaginative, curious, artistic, creative, open to new experiences

– Conscientiousness: Organized, deliberate, conforming, self-disciplined

– Extroversion: Outgoing, assertive, active

– Agreeableness: Kind, helpful, easygoing, generous

– Neuroticism: Anxious, moody, self-punishing, critical

Choosing a lifestyle
In adulthood, people choose their particular social context, or ecological niche.

Adults select vocations, mates, and neighborhoods, and they settle into chosen routines and surroundings.

Ages 30 to 50 are marked by more stability of personality than are other periods of life.

Gender diffs. in personality
Men are higher in extroversion and openness, women higher in conscientiousness and agreeableness.

These sex differences may be innate, perhaps related to hormones.

Gender convergence
Tendency for men and women become more similar as they move through middle age.
Intimacy
Intimacy needs are lifelong.

Adults meet their need for social connection through their relationships with relatives, friends, coworkers, and romantic partners.

Social convoy
Collectively, the family members, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers who move through life with an individual.
Friends
Are typically the most crucial members of the social convoy

Often are able to provide practical help and useful advice when serious problems—death of a family member, personal illness, loss of a job—arise

Family bonds
When family bonds are similar to friendship bonds, relatives are mainstays of the social convoy.

Physical separation does not necessarily weaken family ties.

Family bonds: Parents and adult children
Relationships between parents and adult children are more likely to deteriorate if they live together.

Over the years of adulthood, parents and adult children typically increase in closeness, forgiveness, and pride as both generations gain maturity.

Familism
Belief that family members should support one another, sacrificing individual freedom and success, if necessary, in order to preserve family unity.
Family bonds: siblings
Adult siblings also often become mutually supportive in adulthood.

Adult siblings help one another cope with children, marriage, and elderly relatives.

Sibling bonds are particularly likely to develop during adulthood among children who grew up in large families with major stressors like extreme poverty or a bitter divorce.

Family bonds: not always blood related
Family closeness can sometimes be destructive.

Some adults wisely keep their distance from their blood relatives.

They may instead become fictive kin in another family, that is, someone who is accepted and treated like a family member.

Family bonds: committed partners
Adults everywhere seek committed sexual partnerships.

Partners help meet their needs for intimacy as well as to raise children, share resources, and provide care when needed.

Less than 15% of U.S. residents marry before age 25, but by age 40, 85% have married.

Married people are a little happier, healthier, and richer than never-married ones—but not by much.

Empty nest
Contrary to outdated impressions, this time often improves a relationship.

Most long-married people stay together because they love and trust each other, not simply because they are stuck.

Divorce
Adults are affected by divorce in ways they never anticipated.

Very distressed marriages = happier after divorce; distant marriages =less happy than they thought they would be.

Divorce reduces income, severs friendships, and weakens family ties.

Consequences of divorce
Last for decades

Impacts income, family welfare, and self esteem

Involves almost one out of two marriages in the U.S.

Erikson: Generativity
After the stage of intimacy versus isolation comes generativity versus stagnation, when adults seek to be productive in a caring way.

Adults satisfy their need to be generative in many ways, including creativity, caregiving, and employment.

Caregiving
Chief form of generativity is establishing and guiding the next generation.

Every parent is tested and transformed by the dynamic experience of raising children.

All kinds of caregivers
Roughly one-third of all North American adults become stepparents, adoptive parents, or foster parents.

Many adopted or foster children remain attached to their birth parents, part of the normal human affection for familiar caregivers.

If children are not attached to anyone (as can happen when they spend years in an institution), they are mistrustful of all adults and fearful of becoming too dependent.

Stepfamilies
Average age of new stepchildren is 9 years, which means that usually they are strongly connected to their biological parents.

This helps the child but hinders the stepparents.

Young stepchildren often get hurt, sick, lost, or disruptive, and teenage stepchildren may get pregnant, drunk, or arrested.

Generativity, with patient, authoritative parenting, is needed.

Adoption
Adoptive parents have several advantages: they are legally connected to their children for life, the biological parents are usually absent, and they desperately wanted the child.

Strong bonds can develop, especially when the children are adopted as infants.

During adolescence, these bonds may stretch and loosen as some adoptive children become intensely rebellious.

Caring for parents
Fewer adults are available to care for elderly family members and there are more older adults.

Siblings’ relationships can be strained if a parent becomes frail and needs care.

One sibling usually becomes the chief caregiver.

Sandwich generation
Generation of middle-aged people who are supposedly “squeezed” by the needs of the younger and older members of their families.

Some adults do feel pressured by these obligations, but most are not burdened by them.

Other major avenue for generativity
Adults have many psychosocial needs that employment can fulfill.

Unemployment is associated with higher rates of child abuse, alcoholism, depression, and many other social problems.

Even though average income has doubled, overall happiness within the U.S. has not risen in the past 50 years.

Relative deprivation
People compare themselves to others in their group and are satisfied if they are no worse off than the group norm.
Work meets generativity needs by allowing people to complete many tasks
Develop and use their personal skills

Express their creative energy

Aid and advise coworkers, as a mentor or friend

Support the education and health of their families

Contribute to the community by providing goods or services

Extrinsic rewards of work
Tangible benefits, usually in the form of compensation (e.g., salary, health insurance, pension), that one receives for doing a job.
Intrinsic rewards of work
Intangible gratifications (e.g., job satisfaction, self-esteem, pride) that come from within oneself as a result of doing a job.
Diversity in the workplace
Diversity in employees’ backgrounds presents a challenge for employers as well as for workers.

Not everyone has the same expectations, needs, and desires.

Mentor
A skilled and knowledgeable person who advises or guides an inexperienced person.
Recent labor market changes
Increased frequency of hiring and firing

Between ages 25 and 42, the average worker in the United States has five separate employers.

Older workers find job changes particularly difficult.

Another recent change in employment patterns
Proliferation of work schedules beyond the traditional 9-to-5, Monday-through-Friday.
Flextime
Arrangement in which work schedules are flexible so that employees can balance personal and occupational responsibilities.
Telecommuting
About one-third of all working couples who have young children and nonstandard schedules save on child care by having one parent at home while the other is at work.