Erik Erikson's Theory of Middle Adulthood Development

2058 Words8 Pages
Introduction The middle adulthood period is defined by Erik Erikson as 35 to 55 or 65 years of age. It is during this period, according to Erikson, that creative and meaningful work becomes a central focus (Erikson, 1993). This period is one characterized by generativity, self-absorption, or stagnation (Erikson, 1993). However the basic strengths of people in the middle adulthood years are production and care (Erikson, 1993). The tasks of this period are associated with the transmission of cultural values through the family and through work (Erikson, 1993). The capacity to respond positively to the inherent role changes of this period as children leave home, relationships are discontinued, and goals are recalibrated can produce meaningful new purpose (Erikson, 1993). However, if these inevitable adjustments do not take place, then the result can be stagnation and self-absorption during middle adulthood (Erikson, 1993). Personality The five-factor theory is based on the notion that personality traits are genetically determined and are fully developed by early adulthood with minimal or no changes occurring in personality after early adulthood (Srivastava, 2003). Many theories of personality suggest that traits agreeableness, conscientiousness, extroversion, neuroticism, and openness are largely unchangeable by age 30. The biological perspective of the five-factor theory particularly holds to the "plaster hypothesis" (Srivastava, 2003). However, the contextualist
Open Document