Middle Adulthood: Developmental Theories

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Communication and Emotions

In the middle adulthood people have some difficulties with social and emotional development.

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  • On the one hand, they already have a broad life experience, so they know a lot about the world and understand what they want from life. They are ready to perform actions to achieve what they want.
  • On the other hand, they have developed many habitual reflexes, ways of living, and social contacts.

Consequently, they are not always ready for something new, as they can experience significant stress from this (Walker, 2017). Thus, their social and emotional development gradually slows down.

Body and Brain

Physical and cognitive development in the middle adulthood is also significantly slower than in youth. Neural connections in the brain are formed well enough, which sometimes does not allow developing and creating new ones (Newman & Newman, 2017). The physical condition of the body begins to deteriorate, and people need to make great efforts to maintain it. In order to promote physical and cognitive development at this age, it is crucial to pay great attention to this:

  • doing appropriate sports,
  • walking, reading books,
  • interacting with young people,
  • and other useful activities.

Developmental Theories

One of the important theories related to early middle adulthood was advanced by Eric Erickson. It lies in the fact that at this age people often feel lonely, although they are constantly surrounded by others (Walker, 2017). In addition, during this period, they understand that they will not become younger, and have achieved almost everything they could in life.

This is a time for rethinking and looking for new opportunities with the available resources. For many, it is difficult, because people feel the approach of old age, but do not yet know how to cope with new sensations and events in life.

During this period, people also pay attention to the development of younger generations. They know that they have accumulated a significant experience in life, which they must pass on to the younger ones. This allows them to feel their importance and take over the energy from young people.

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My Experience

Some of the patients with whom I worked were in the middle adulthood, they were from 50 to 60 years old. Undoubtedly, they were interesting in communication and looked at life quite optimistically.

They understood that they were not yet old, so they have many chances to improve their health and live for many years in a stable condition. At the same time, they have extensive life experience and calmly react to changes, although it is difficult for them to accept them.

How This Knowledge Helps Nurses?

  • As a nurse, it helped me to study this stage of development, since the percentage of people of this age among patients is large.
  • It became clearer to me how to communicate with them and what diseases they most often encounter.
  • Even though they understand that they become old, they are still full of energy and are ready to fight to their health.

Undoubtedly, this knowledge helps me in life as well, because my parents, many teachers, and other important people belong to this age group. Now, I know more about their problems and crucial features so I am more kind to them and interested in their life experience.

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Newman, B. M., & Newman, P. R. (2017). Development through life: A psychological approach. Cengage Learning.

Walker, J. (2017). Social work and human development. SAGE Publications.

Wong, D. W., Hall, K. R., & Hernandez, L. W. (2020). Counseling individuals through the lifespan. SAGE Publications.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, June 28). Middle Adulthood: Developmental Theories. Retrieved from https://psychologywriting.com/middle-adulthood-developmental-theories/


PsychologyWriting. (2022, June 28). Middle Adulthood: Developmental Theories. https://psychologywriting.com/middle-adulthood-developmental-theories/

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"Middle Adulthood: Developmental Theories." PsychologyWriting, 28 June 2022, psychologywriting.com/middle-adulthood-developmental-theories/.


PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Middle Adulthood: Developmental Theories'. 28 June.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Middle Adulthood: Developmental Theories." June 28, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/middle-adulthood-developmental-theories/.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Middle Adulthood: Developmental Theories." June 28, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/middle-adulthood-developmental-theories/.


PsychologyWriting. "Middle Adulthood: Developmental Theories." June 28, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/middle-adulthood-developmental-theories/.