Psychological Development Across the Lifespan

Middle Adulthood (40–60)

How is middle adulthood often a time of peak responsibilities?

Midlife is frequently a time of peak responsibilities, both at home and in the workplace. Adults at this stage of life often have ongoing parenting responsibilities with children still living at home. At the same time, their parents are aging and frequently need care. Due to their greater experience and psychological maturity, middle-aged adults are ideally positioned to assume greater responsibility in the workplace. Many move into positions of management at work. Assumption of such supervisory roles brings to mind Erikson’s stage of Generativity vs. Stagnation, the psychosocial stage of middle adulthood. In Erikson’s view, generativity involves providing care and guidance for the next generation and for society as a whole.


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