Human development is marked by different stages and milestones over the lifespan. It is expressed over three domains: physical, cognitive and socio/emotional. While human physical and cognitive development is universal, socio/emotional definitions and development vary from culture to culture. The various stages of human development include the prenatal period, infancy, toddler hood, early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle adulthood and late adulthood. Each stage is marked by milestones in physical, cognitive, and socio/emotional development. The theorist that investigated about middle adulthood was Erik Erickson. Erikson observed that middle-age is when we tend to be occupied with creative and meaningful work and with issues surrounding our family.
Also, middle adulthood is when we can expect to “be in charge,” the role we’ve longer envied. The significant task is to perpetuate culture and transmit values of the culture through the family and working to establish a stable environment. Strength comes through care of others and production of something that contributes to the betterment of society, which Erikson calls generativity, so when individual in this stage they often fear inactivity and meaninglessness. As children leave home, or relationships or goals change, they may be faced with major life changes—the mid-life crisis—and struggle with finding new meanings and purposes. If adults do not n get through this stage successfully, they become self-absorbed and stagnate.
The main features of midlife refer to the transformation and progress on physical, cognitive/intellect and social domains. Changes are also evident on expertise and personality. Physical change is the most gradual. Such changes include, atrophy of muscles, slower metabolism, skin elasticity and dryness, wrinkles, slow growth of nail and hair and baldness. These changes also facilitate the decrease in height, increase in weight and decrease in bone density, strength and immunity, vision and hearing and decrease in kidney function and cardiac output. The greatest lost in this domain since physical factors are the primary source of sensory and motor functioning. The changes in physical attributes are generally characterized by menopause in women and andropause in men. Menopause is when the body stops ovulating and producing estrogen and gradual decline in testosterone levels.
These physical changes are emphasized of the double-standard of aging. Men become more distinguished and women become old. Cognitive changes has to do with the way humans perceive and experience the world and deals with issues like memory, thinking and decision-making processes and concept comprehension. During middle adulthood, humans are experts at problem solving, although they begin to experience some signs of decline with speed in processing and recall. The lost mainly focuses the ability to perform tasks unlike the agility that they could exert when they are much younger. Many are losing confidence on performing the same task because their IQ or memory won’t allow them to do so.
Social changes are wherein the individuals became more aware of his being, his worth and his surrounding. They become more aware of their own mortality, the passing time and the seriousness of the physical decline. The gain is the opportunity to identify you with others and contribute time to the community. Social changes has to do with how an individual is able to handle emotions, relationships, social situations, and the various roles demanded of them by society. Some aspect of Socio/Emotional standards, such as social expectations, relationships, and roles vary from culture to culture.
The implication of middle adulthood to social work practice basically refers to the familiarity of the social worker to the journey of the service-users towards reaching that stage of life. The social worker may find difficulty in dealing with them especially when he or she has no idea where his or her clients’ concerns and issues are coming from. Their assistance would be feasible if they can recognize the role that culture plays on the process of. Middle adulthood is met with the psychological and emotional challenges of facing the mid-life crisis, and a life analysis and inventory is taken. During this stage of lifespan, adults encounter changing roles that families face. Firstly in terms of career and work. Adults most often choose to go to college for work-related purposes.
Many employers require workers to attain certain levels of education in order to qualify for promotions due to globalization. some adults may change career fearing the consequence of losing jobs while Others go to college to learn new skills in preparation for another career. Some, adults may also return to college simply for personal enrichment. “The role of work , whether one works in a full time career, part time job or as a homemaker, is central during middle adulthood”(Santrock,2009,p490). As adults reach their peak position in earning, they are saddled with multiple financial burdens including rent, mortgage, medical bills, and children tuition. These competing demands hinder the middle adulthood to further to career progress. They decide whether to change jobs or career, or rebalance family and work or plan for retirement.
Having some knowledge about human lifespan development is beneficial for many reasons. It increases self-awareness and understanding, which helps with life planning. If a female is aware of the stages of her physical development, for example, she will know that her natural childbearing years are limited. If she wants to have children, she can use family planning to make choices about her education, career and mate to support this goal. Additionally, this knowledge can be helpful for improving relationships and interpersonal communication and resolving conflicts.
Subject: Social work,
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 12 January 2017
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