The purpose of this paper is to provide the reader with a personal case study on the developmental transition of a 35-year-old woman from young adulthood into middle adulthood. The transition is examined in the context of Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Development and the Loevinger’s Ego Development. The paper would present her current situation and future plans in accordance to her current developmental level. TRANSITION TO MIDDLE ADULTHOOD: A PERSONAL CASE STUDY Basically, the goal of the research and study on life-span development is to describe, explain and optimize human development.
Human development is interesting and highly varied that it seems at times the topic is inexhaustible. Researchers would like understand more fully human behavior and motivation as it change through age. According to the modern life-span perspective to understand the gravity of these queries one has to remember the following facts about human development. First, development is a life-long process. The life-span perspective is the study of human development from infancy to adulthood. This would include any form of development. Second, development is multidirectional.
It involves all aspect of life. We have different priorities at different stages of life, for example a small child might deem it more important to be able to watch his favorite TV show rather than a good education. Third, development involves both gain and lost, to give room to new learning, priorities and experiences (Sigelman & Rider, 2010). Erik Erikson Psychosocial Development Claire is at the middle adulthood stage. By this time she had successfully resolved her concern on isolation. Crystal Miller is married and a mother of a two year old boy and a six year old daughter.
She has a loving family. She has peers and friends that appreciates and support her. The middle adulthood stage is primarily characterized as a time when an individual searches for a sense of legacy to family and society. An individual needs to be affirmed of her or potential for contribution to society. Significant internal conflicts may arise pertaining to self-absorption and stagnation. This is the stage of the development where a sense of production and the ability and opportunity to express care to others is most important (Tenant, 2000)
Claire aims to provide the kind of family and personal values that she had developed. Although her children are still very young, she want them to develop in an environment that they could free to express themselves learn from their own experiences. The role of mothers in the development is crucial. Early learning of young children can be accredited quality of interaction and care they receive from parents. She wants her children to be able to be become productive members of society. As Tenant (2000) explained it becomes an adamant task is to preserve culture and transmit family values.
This may come in the form of establishing stable family or home environment. Strength comes through care of others and production of something that contributes to the betterment of society. This would provide meaning and purpose. Furthermore, the middle adulthood stage, aims to develop a sense of fulfillment in both the professional and personal life. At this stage, profession or work is most crucial. Thus, Erikson asserts through his study the individual in the middle adult stage tend to be focused in finding meaning with their professional life.
They would like to view their jobs are more than a means for financial gain; it should have significance and contribution. As parents, they would like to feel that they had helped mold the values system of their children, as well provided for their personal needs. As a co-worker, she would like to be a source of valuable information and help them in own personal endeavors. It also, middle adulthood is when we can expect in control. (Cohen & Reese, 1994) Claire as a registered respiratory therapist and a registered nurse sees her profession as source of personal fulfillment.
She had honed her professional skills through 17 years of patient care experience in the field. Field experience in the medical profession is unparalleled, through her interaction with patients and professional she had developed genuine care for patients and professional for the field. She had gained expertise acknowledged by her peers and clients. Thus, when she entered the corporate medical device industry she took the initiative to advocate better deliverance of health care by helping clinician help their patients the base care.
She assists executive level from making major financial and technological decisions. It is part of her responsibility to make sure each and every clinician is fully trained on their equipment. Thus, get the full and best use of the equipment to not only benefit the hospital and clinician but also the patients. These efforts, led to the lowering the cost of healthcare is through better patient care by enabling the clinicians to provide the right care at the right time. She acknowledge that she may be luckier than some, because she in a profession that she feels she is making a significant contributions.
Being a mother, she personally feels for parents whose children are under medical care due to illness. As, a parent she would like her children to learn any profession can be used to be of service to others. That is important to be in a job you are developed and appreciated. As a spouse, she aims to become her husband’s source of support as he is to her. Considerably, her family is very young and she would like to equip herself with the necessary parental skill that she would need particularly in her children’s adolescents year.
At times, though she feels that the demand of family life and professional life is taking a toll of her emotional well-being. She has to sets priorities and often the things she has to give up; working in the medical instrument copy at times requires travel and hours of work. As a mother, there are times that she feels that she should spend more time with her kids. Children tend to grow up really fast. Although, she seems to manage well, this is still this dilemma she often encounters. At this point she had to acknowledge her husband’s part in taking care of the family.
It helps to know that she is not alone; learning from other working mothers and how they deal helps her find her own balance. Although she has a long way to go before moving to late adulthood, she would like to make the best of it while she’s here with her family and friends. Significant relationships are within the workplace, the community and the family. Thus, Claire would like to expand her expertise to the community. She plans to get involved in community project pertaining to healthcare. Time can be an issue but she believes that it can be done.
Support groups in forms of friends, family and peers can help her resolve internal conflicts and feel more competent in handling all aspects of her life. Loevinger’s Ego Development According to Loevinger’s Ego Development, the ego serves as the master trait of personality with a core organizing function. In a way it neutralizes the demands of the id and the super ego. The ego provides the direction and guidance for both the inner and outer forces (Thorne, 1993). Loevinger presented ego development in nine distinct stages.
Most adults can be found from the fifth to the seventh level of ego development (Westenberg, Blasi & Lawrence, 1998). The self-aware stage, the fifth stage is the most common stage among adults in the United States. At this stage there is an increased but limited awareness of deeper issues and the inner lives of themselves and others. A personal introspection of ideas pertaining to religion, morality, mortality, love and relationships as compared to others, somewhat there seems to have resolution. Awareness, acknowledgement and acceptance of others perspective, they are appreciating themselves and others as unique.
However this may bring tension between actual to what is expected. In terms what is expected is often a combination of society and the individual’s own definition. This may lead conflicts with family and peers. If let unresolved this may lead to self –criticism. This continues on the sixth stage, the conscientious stage. At this stage, the tendency towards self-evaluation and self-criticism continues. Responsibility, achievement and the pursuit of high ideals and long-term goals are highly valued. Personally-evaluated morality starts to evolve and behavior is guided by self-evaluated standards.
It is at this stage as well that, shame arises from not meeting the others’ expectations; guilt arises from not meeting one’s own expectations. In a study conducted by on the personality change in women from College to Midlife. The personality scores of female college seniors studied where first measured in 1958 using the California Psychological Inventory, then again when they were 27 years old, the third time were 43. The results showed that changes in personality were largely consistent with theories of adult development.
The study highlighted a major factor, sex role specialization in their late 20s and a decrease in their later years that is accompanied by increases in confidence, dominance, and coping skills. (Helson & Moane, 1986) Claire efforts to achieve professional success rather than simply focusing on her family life would have been frowned upon. Claire own ideals and priorities would have been influenced by the norms of society. The expectation of society on her would had definitely clashed with her endeavor to develop professionally.
The change in the perspective of society in the role of women had definitely changed in terms professional and long term goal. However, women are still held more responsible to the welfare of the children and of the family. Often, the dilemma would arise since she is permitted to do both, but she is expected to be a complete success in family life and with her professional life. This may be easier said than done. The only solution, make it both work. She wants to have sense of control over her priorities, goals and resources. Delegation and proper time allocation are some solutions she can think of as a way to resolve some concerns.
Van Hiel and Vansteenskist (2009) examined the effects of intrinsic and extrinsic goal attainment on older adults’ ego-integrity, psychological well-being, and death attitudes. Intrinsic goal attainment contributed positively to subjective well-being and ego-integrity and negatively to despair, whereas extrinsic goal attainment was unrelated to psychological health and contributed positively to despair. Intrinsic goal attainment contributed to the acceptance of one’s own death, lower ill-being, and less death anxiety, whereas extrinsic goal attainment was negatively associated with death acceptance.
It is argued that the attainment of intrinsic goals is related to better psychological health, because intrinsic goals are more conducive to the satisfaction of basic psychological needs. In summary, Claire plans to revisit her priorities, goals for each aspect of her life. Claire’s intrinsic motivation of becoming a contribution to her family, work and community would provide her with the necessary drive and energy. At the same time, she would like to be realistic in terms of her expectation of herself. She believes she can define her own definition of success. BIBLIOGRAPHY
Cohen, S & Reese, H. (1994)Life-span development psychology: methodological contributions. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawerence Earbaum Associates, Inc. Tenant, M. (2000) Psychology and adult learning 2nd edition. New York: Routledge Sigelman, C. K. & Rider, E. (2010) Life-span human development. Cengage Learning. Thorne, A (1993) On conceptualizing loevinger’s stages of ego development. Psychological Inquiry. 4, 1, p. 53-55. Taylor & Francis Ltd. Retrieved at August 20, 2010 at http://www. jstor. org/pss/1449596 Van Hiel, A. & Vansteenskiste, M. (2009)
Ambitions Fulfilled the effects of intrinsic and extrinsic goal attainment on older adults’ ego-integrity and death attitudes. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 68, 1, 27-51 Westenberg, P. M. , Blasi, A. & Lawrence, D. C. (1998) Personality development: theoretical, empirical, and clinical investigations of Loevinger’s conception of ego development. Lawrence Mahwah, New Jersey: Erlbaum Associates, Inc. , Publishers Helson, R & Moane, G. (1986) Personality Change in Women From College to Midlife. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 1, 176-186.
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