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BESC1120 Study Guide - Final Guide: Sandwich Generation, Conscientiousness, Extraversion And Introversion

Behavioural Science
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EXAM NOTES - Developmental Psychology
Chapter 15: Psychosocial development in middle adulthood
Multiplicity of images of middle age:
To many people, changes and challenges are not terms associated with middle age
Stereotype of midlife as boring plateau “climbing the hill” metaphor
Seen as a stage of monotony and stability before down hill run of old age
But research shows – opposite – time of inevitable crisis
Prime of life status
Some have crises some don’t
Some have routine, some don’t
Multiplicity of images because no single experience represents this life stage
Crisis or no crisis:
Conceptual Frameworks:
Jung once a person achieves acceptable level of status according to societal expectation, they
divert serious attention away from demands of society and more towards inner self
Collective unconscious (ancestral past etc), personal unconscious (personal experiences suppressed
or forgotten) these were in conflict
Helson normative perspective social clocks age related expectations about personal goals
- marriage, motherhood, running household, career development
Erikson – generativity VS stagnation
7th psychosocial crisis
Person must balance feeling their life is personally satisfying and socially meaningful with feelings
of purposefulness
Erikson predicts this normative crisis at midlife
Generativity expanding ego interests, developing a deep concern for establishment and
nurturance of next generation
Creating a personal legacy
Stagnation – life no longer feels purposeful / having no long term meaning
Work, community, parenting
Inclusivity in society
Career productivity
Being needed or feeling alientation
More emphasis on family as get older for some men
Mid-life crisis radical personality changes associated with an adults re-examination of goals,
priorities and life accomplishments as the midpoint is passed the crisis is a typical component of
midlife – result in taking new courses, new friends, re-establishing old relationshps, etc
Emphasis midlife transition -- shift from past to future in this midlife stage
Reviewing dream realising not achievable and changing it for some this can be drastic change like
divorce, major shifts in occupation, remarriage, etc
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More obvious mid-life crisis for men
Work on personality traits has been used to debunk myth of midlife crisis
Development of personality can be viewed from 3 perspectives traits, motivational goals, and life
Personality traits emerge first during childhood, then overlaid by goals and motives people strive
Eventually a life story is built where people construct an identity who they are and who they will
Personality traits:
Roles change with age
Roles are not personality and don’t have much influence on it
While life events change social roles, they don’t change the individual psychologically
Focus on traits rather than crisis model – so not stages but traits
Costa and McCrae 1997
Trait = relatively enduring disposition on an individual, a characteristic way of thinking, feeling and
Most traits can be categorised into 5 dimensions
5 big Dimensions of Personality:
Neuroticism – the tendency to experience negative emotions such as fear, anger and sadness
Extroversion sociability, but closely associated with the tendency to experience excitement, joy
and good spirits
Openness to experience – welcoming new experiences, imaginative and curious
Agreeableness – sympathy, trust, cooperativeness, altruism
Conscientiousness – organisation, scrupulousness, persistence, achievement motivation
These personality traits contribute to persons basic tendencies
Other factors such as gender, intelligence and left-handedness also contribute but not part of
Basic tendencies must be distinguished from specific behaviours
Stability of Traits:
Increasing with age – conscientiousness, agreeableness, dominance, emotional stability
Decreases in old age – openness to experience
Lifespan continuity and change (both features of personality over the lifespan…..) continuity
(genes) – change (normative and non-normative events)
Personality is quite stable after 30 years
^^ enables us to prepare for successful ageing
Changes reflect increasing psychological maturity
Normative personality change:
Helson – timing of events approach
Change in same direction depending on social expectations of their cohort
In 40’s women increased in confidence and social assertiveness
Which enabled them to reassess social clock and find new direction
Changing sex roles and other experiential factors impact on normative change in personality
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