Stages and crises at the stage of adulthood - Psychology

Stages and crises at the stage of adulthood

• According to the biographical approach life events constitute the main content of a person's life path and act as critical, critical moments that determine the changes in a person's life. In domestic psychology (SL Rubinstein, NA Loginova) the following classification of life events is accepted:

events of the environment - significant changes in the circumstances of development that occur not at will or at the initiative of the subject (war, illness, death, earthquake, etc.);

behavior events, ie. acts initiated by a person - he makes a decision and realizes it (marriage, admission to university, job change, etc.);

events of inner life - spiritual work to rethink the values ​​of life, change attitudes to anything ("awareness of fate").

In foreign psychology, there are normative and non-normative events of life (for example, G. Kreig).

normative events are those whose arrival is expected at a certain time or experienced by most people belonging to a particular age, culture, social group.

With social support, preparation time for them, social significance of these events, they, as G. Kreig notes, do not lead to great stress. Examples of such events include marriage, the birth of children, the graduation from school, the search for a first job, retirement, etc.

Unnormal events are events that happen unexpectedly, are not foreseen, are purely personal, i.e. do not affect a wide range of people, such as a sudden death of a spouse, a serious illness, loss of work, etc.

Abnormal events generate considerable stress and often require a person to fundamentally restructure life.

Recently, more and more attention has been paid by psychologists to the analysis of human behavior in complex and stressful circumstances. Despite the significant individual diversity of behavior in difficult situations, according to R. Lazarus, there are two global styles of reaction:

1) a problem-oriented style, aimed at a rational analysis of the problem, the creation and implementation of a plan to resolve a difficult situation. It manifests itself in behaviors such as an independent analysis of what happened, seeking help from others, seeking additional information, cognitive resolution of the problem, i.e. reinterpretation of the situation to its own advantage;

2) a subject-oriented style, which is the consequence of an emotional response to a situation. It manifests itself in the form of attempts to reject the problem, avoid thinking about it, compassion for oneself, emotional expression, in an effort to dissolve their adversity in alcohol or to compensate for negative emotions by eating, using drugs.

In developmental psychology, the reaction styles are usually not addressed to difficult or stressful situations in general, but only to vital events that can lead to significant changes in a person's life, such as the birth of a child, loss of work or retirement.

There is quite a variegated picture in solving the problem of periodization of adulthood in terms of the age approach . The criteria for the construction of periodization, the number of allocated stages, the time frames of individual periods are differently defined in various classifications of the adult stage of life (BG Ananiev, G. Kreig,

E. Erickson, etc.).


Thus, one of the researchers of the aging of man J. Birren divides the entire cycle of adulthood into the following periods: early maturity (17-25 years); maturity (25-50 years); late maturity (50-75 years); old age (over 75 years).

The periodization of D. Bromley is more perfect and suitable for the purposes of periodization of the life cycle and the study of the interrelations of age and the turning points of the life path, from BG Ananiev's point of view. In accordance with it, the human life path consists of five cycles: the uterine; childhood; youth; adulthood; aging. Each of these cycles, in turn, is divided into different stages. Adulthood consists of four stages: early adulthood (21-25 years), average adulthood (25-40 years), late adulthood (40-55 years), pre-retirement age (55-65 years). The fifth cycle - aging - consists of three stages: deletion from cases (65-70 years), old age (from 70 years and more), decrepitude (painful old age and death).

According to the scheme of age periodization developed at a special international symposium devoted to this problem, in the adult life the following ages and periods are singled out (G. Grim):

1. The average (mature) age, which includes two periods:

1) 22-35 years for men and 21-35 years for women; 2) 36-60 years for men and 36-55 years for women.

2. The elderly age: 61-74 years for men and 56-74 years for women.

3. Old age: 75-90 years for men and women.

4. Longevity: older than 90 years.

Since it is difficult (if at all possible) to accurately indicate the developmental stages of adult people, based solely on age, the whole period of adulthood is conventionally divided into three stages:

1) early adulthood (from 20 to 40 years);

2) average adulthood (from 40 to 60 years);

3) late adulthood (from 60 years and older).

These periods we will rely on in future when considering the age characteristics of an adult.

Supporters of the age-related approach, affirming the stadial nature of human development, its non-linear but spasmodic nature, inevitably come to the conclusion that there are crisis periods that necessarily arise in the life path of most people and that are important for normal progressive development personality. Crises of development arise when a person faces the need to assess the life situation and his place in life; reassess or confirm previously set goals and made elections; take a decision that determines its development in the next life period. Meanwhile, not all researchers, asserting the stadiality of human development during adulthood, adhere to the model of the crisis, which necessarily includes the "knowingly negative component: weakness in confronting changed circumstances, collapse of illusions, failures, painful experience dissatisfaction (IV Shapovalenko). Some consider the transition model to be more appropriate, when a transition to a new stage of development takes place without special crisis experiences.

As B.S. Bratus points out, adult crises are significantly different from childhood crises in that they are not so attached to age; more closely depend on the social situation of development; pass fairly consciously; proceed more secretly, not demonstratively.

Currently, the world's psychological literature describes in most detail the crises of adulthood (or transitions) associated with the following periods of life: 17-22 years; about 30 years (28-32 years), 40-45 years; 55-60 years (BS Bratus, B. Livehud, VI Slobodchikov, G. Shikhi, etc.). We briefly characterize each of them, bearing in mind that the time boundaries are given rather arbitrarily and for different authors they are not the same.

The crisis of youth (17-22 years). Important issues of this phase of development are: "Who am I?", "What do I want?", "What can I do?" ; for which there is still no answer, a person only learns to accept himself and be responsible for his choices and decisions (B. Lievehood). Assuming that the gradual departure from the family and the search for oneself is the essence of the crisis of youth, G. Shikhi calls this crisis "separation from the parents' roots." This time, when a person equally actively wants to manifest himself in ideology, ideology, sex and future professional activity. As a result, there is a feeling that the real life is outside the family and the school, there is a desire to leave the "parent nest", and the process of breaking emotional ties with the house begins. Escape from the crisis at this age, the desire to restore safety and comfort by passively adopting a family tradition or joining a strong person (for example, by marrying) only retards development.

Young people who adequately accept this crisis, i.e. Do not get away from the questions: "Who am I?", "how do I translate my dreams?", "which path to choose for the beginning?", "who can help me?", "how to achieve the goal ? ", usually become stronger and are able to control their own destiny (G. Shikhi).

The crisis of youth (28-32 years). Despite the fact that a person is relatively satisfied with life, he begins to experience dissatisfaction with himself, asks himself about what he and what he would like to be, understands that he overestimated something in his life and underestimated something; there is a feeling that the life he has been building since the age of 20 is falling apart. The first results are summed up, and there is a reassessment of their former values ​​and elections (spouse, career, life goals). A lonely person begins to look for a partner; a woman who used to be satisfied with sitting at home with children, is eager to pursue her career; childless parents think of having children; there are big changes in the work, mainly related to the tendency to change something, with the desire for professional growth, greater success.

As G. Shikhi points out, in 30 years there is a desire to start all over again, and the changes are accompanied by doubts, feelings of confusion and discontent. The leitmotif of this crisis is escape. A person leaves work, runs away from the family, changes his profession, leaves. He runs from the crisis, therefore, from himself, but it does not get better. It is necessary to correct the life plan, spiritual work to realize your place in life.

The crisis of adulthood is often described as a middle-of-life crisis, an explosion in the middle of life (40-45 years), or a decade of a fatal yearday. (35-45 years). This is a time of adjustment to the understanding that you are no longer young and your future does not carry unlimited opportunities; a person becomes aware for the first time how all this will end for him, begins to understand that he will live forever. If at 20 and 30 years a person can be a "budding hopeer", then after 40 years, the time for fulfilling promises comes. There is liberation from illusions, the realization that time is running out to shorten the gap between dreams and reality; a person faces the need to revise his plans, plans and relating them to the remaining time of life.

This is the period when a person faces problems related to the meaning of life; period, designated B. Lievechud as a "value crisis," or the transition to a new dominant of values.

EI Golovakha sees the origins of the crisis in the middle of life in the limited life perspective, when young men and women, on average to live up to 70-80 years, set a border between self-realization between 30 and 40 years.


P. A. Ahmerov calls the three most common crises of the adult life period:

1. The crisis of unfulfilledness: what a person has outlined in his youth, he has not been able to implement, or underestimates his successes and achievements.

2. The crisis of devastation: everything that a person has charted has been achieved; he does not have any specific targets that attract him in the future; dominant is the experience that he is a "already smoked cigarette".

3. The crisis of futility: lack of future in the picture of life; a picture of a "hopeless stagnation", "guaranteed boredom" is drawn.

Successful solution of the middle-aged crisis usually involves the development of a new image of "I", the rethinking of life goals, their reformulation within a more realistic and restrained point of view, correction in all areas of habitual existence. At this point, a process is under way which B. Livehude describes as "spiritual maturation". The crucial question is whether it is possible to free ourselves from the exaggerated captivity of the "I", as KG Jung calls it.

The crisis of maturity (55-60 years). This critical period is characterized as a time of summing up that does not always satisfy a person, because not all of his desires and goals are realized. Setting for the future changes radically: people of this age begin to understand that they do not have time for everything they want to do. This is the stage of aging, the decisive factor here is the approaching end or, at least, the reality of retirement. That is why this period is described as the time of internal conflict: it is necessary to change the habitual life stereotype, create a new way of life. For a person of mature age, it turns out to be a very difficult, sometimes painful, transition from the state of maximum activity characteristic of the period of acme to its gradual curtailment, restriction due to the deterioration of health, less strength, an objective need to give way to new generations with subjective reluctance, internal resistance to do this, because today a man in the 50-60 years subjectively does not feel himself to be old (MV Gamezo).

Some people of this age period have a feeling of inevitability of overcoming a difficult new stage - again it is necessary to go through "die and rise": Now it's time to prepare for what else you want to do, identify what you can leave, and take on what else you want to complete (B. Lievehood).

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