The midlife period in the lifespan is characterized by a complex interplay of multiple roles. The goal of this chapter is to summarize research findings on the central themes and salient issues of midlife such as balancing work and family responsibilities in the midst of the physical and psychological changes associated with aging. The field of midlife development is emerging in the context of large demographic shifts in the population. A section on the phenomenology of midlife development presents images and expectations including the seemingly disparate views of midlife as a time of peak functioning and a period of crisis. Conceptual frameworks useful for studying the multiple patterns of change in midlife are presented. Findings demonstrating patterns of gains and losses are reviewed for multiple domains: cognitive functioning, personality and the self, emotions, social relationships, work, and physical health. The need for future research to illuminate and integrate the diverse aspects of midlife is highlighted.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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