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Middle age

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Middle age is a non-specific stage in life when a person is neither young nor old, but somewhere in between.

Various attempt have been made to define the range and these tend towards the third quarter of the average life span of human beings. According to Collins Dictionary, this is "... usually considered to occur approximately between the ages of 40 and 60", The OED gives a similar definition but with a later start point "... the period between youth and old age, about 45 to 60." Whilst Erik Erikson sees it ending a little later and defines middle adulthood as between 40 and 65. Thus, in the western world, middle age is somewhere between 40 and 65.

In many Western societies this is seen to be the period of life in which a person is expected to have settled down in terms of their sense of identity and place in the world, be raising a family (if their lifestyle includes this pursuit), and have established career stabilty. It is also a period often associated with the potential onset of mid-life crises.

Most women go through the menopause during middle age (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/medical_notes/455393.stm).

There is often claimed to be considerable prejudice against older people in employment and in the media. This is based on the claim that, given a choice between an old person and young person (often with less ability), the young person will disproportionately often be chosen by an employer. The media focus much less on older people because younger people are influenced more easily, and will most likely remain influenced for the rest of their lives, for instance choosing brands they are familiar with.

Some people (http://www.saga.co.uk) are challenging the concept that middle age is something to dread. They assert that with the right attitude and careful planning, middle age can be truly a person's best years. Those age-positive groups range from advocacy groups such as the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) to purely social clubs like the Red Hat Society.

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References & BibliographyEdit

Key textsEdit

BooksEdit

  • Norman, W.H. and Scaramella,T.J.{1980) (eds) Midlife: Developmental and Clinical Issues, New York: Brunner/Mazel.
  • Gould, R.L. (1978) Transformations: Growth and Change in Adult Life, New York: Simon & Schuster.
  • Levinson, D.J. (1978) The Seasons of a Man's Life, New York: Alfred A- Knopf.
  • Norman, M. (1980) Adult life cycles: changing roles and changing hormones. In: J.G. Parsons (ed.) The Psychobiology of Sea Differences and Sex Roles, New York. McGraw-Hill.

PapersEdit

  • Mann, C.H. (1980) Midlife and the family: strains, challenges and options of the middle years. In: W.H. Norman and T.J. Scaramella (eds) Midlife: Developmental and Clinical Issues, New York: Brunner/Mazel.


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fi:Keski-ikä sv:Medelålders

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