Early and Middle Adulthood

Early and Middle Adulthood

As human beings develop and grow, their bodies become old and so does their psychology. This brings in the issue of psychological development and adulthood. Whereas early adults have to deal with the psychological needs of isolation and intimacy, the people around them are obligated to ensure that they treat the ageing with care, love, and respect. As opposed to the needs during early adulthood, middle aged persons have to face the problem of stagnation which initiates the stage of diminished psychological development (Sommers, 2010). Then there is the need for advancement of human relations, dealing with isolation, emotional stability, and the development of wisdom, which comes during the last stages of adulthood. In order for the ageing to go through these stages with success, they have to adopt good lifestyles and proper eating habits supported by good health practices, both in their early and middle adulthood. Therefore, this paper centers on the need to focus on examining the psychological adjustment of the ageing as well as the changes in lifestyle that are experienced during adulthood.

Adolescence as a stage of growth is coupled with role conflicts and extensive peer pressure. During this stage, the adolescents need to be properly guided so as to accept whatever psychological, biological, and physical changes they are going through. As they develop, they enter early adulthood. This stage has been associated with the need for a balance between isolation and intimacy. After early childhood, a person quickly drifts into middle adulthood where it has been observed as a general trend that people tend to resist the feeling of isolation as they embrace the feeling of intimacy (Crain, 2011). In this particular context, intimacy can be defined as the ability to maintain personal relationships with other people, among them being marriage. By becoming intimate, an up-close relationship is ignited which initiates a period where the adults need to balance between their lives and that of their partners.

Psychologists have conducted researches to ascertain that personality is triggered by emotional needs and the age of individuals. As a result, researchers such as Erik Erikson and David Lewinson dedicated themselves to the study of changes by focusing on the mean level and rank order changes (Sommers, 2010). Erikson states the stages of psychological development by explaining eight, of which adulthood is part. Completing each stage marks the beginning of the other stage which is coupled with myriad challenges that need to be handled, adapted to, or learnt. Therefore, the success of the next stage is dependent on the completion of the previous stages, and in the event one stage fails to be successful, the challenges may reappear in future stages. In discussing the issue of intimate relations and social lives of people in the early and middle adulthood, ideologies postulated by Erik Erickson in his stages of human development become applicable.

According to Erik Erickson, early adulthood begins at 20 and extends towards 40 years of age. Middle adulthood begins at 40 and proceeds into 64 years where a person enters old age. To begin with the early adulthood, there is the outcome on development of ego which is associated with the need for intimacy and solidarity in social interactions. There is also the search for love and long term social affiliations. Erikson postulates that during the initial stages of adulthood, young adults often find it appealing to seek for several companions with the sole purpose of satisfying their need for love and intimacy. As a result, they end up being into relationships that are mutually satisfying through friendship and even marriages. The need for intimacy drives them into starting a family at the ages between 20 and 30 years (Sommers, 2010). In case a person fails to achieve the desired goal of becoming social or intimate, they tend to isolate themselves from other people, and keep personal distance. Erikson refers to this process as shrinking the social circle in defense of their dwindling ego and self-esteem.

Erikson further emphasizes that it is during adolescence that people begin to familiarize with their identity. The young adults begin their search for identity, but are readily willing to integrate the characters they deem suitable from other people. This process is a path towards formation of personality. On the side of role changes, early adulthood is affected by the completion of school and the start of full time employment. Responsibilities begin to increase as the young adult is faced with the need for relationship and self-growth. In examining the immediate and future impact of healthy and unhealthy practices during this stage, people who develop good relationships during adolescence are likely to have a better livelihood (Crain, 2011). Marriage also becomes an essential practice because it can either better or worsen a person’s life. The kinds of foods and lifestyle including participation in sports and other physical exercise could help a person stay longer.

Daniel Levinson observes that early adulthood ends at the age of 28 to 30, which then ushers in the middle adulthood. The basic indicators of this stage are generativist and self-absorption, which is also referred to as stagnation. Basically, the stage is supportive of the early childhood as it marks a transition into late adulthood. In the event that early childhood was not utilized properly, a person will experience a severe crisis which is accompanied by loss of hope. During the middle adulthood stage, work becomes very crucial. Erikson supports that it is during middle adulthood that people tend to invest into meaningful work and creativity (Crain, 2011). People also become engrossed in family issues as they start developing a sense of leadership. Leadership ushers in role changes, which are inclusive of the need to perpetuate values and transmit culture to the new family members.

Most people tend to define this stage with the ability to fend for their families by establishing a stable environment for the growth and establishment of cordial family units. The decision of setting up a strong united family is helpful to people at this stage because it prevents them from health disorders associated with stubborn children, especially during their old age. It is, therefore, essential for a person at this stage to ensure that he offers the family enough care and wealth, which will be helpful during old age. The general goal of a person in the middle adulthood should be focused on bettering the society in a process that Erikson refers to as generativity. This stage was observed to end with the maturity and departure of the children which might lead to considerable changes in roles, relationships, and goals. The mid-life crisis begins as people struggle to find new purpose and meaning for life. If one fails to go through this stage successfully, one is likely to stagnate or become self-absorbed (Berger, 2010). Participating in habits that strengthen the individual’s physical being, eating healthy foods, and enjoying cordial correlation with the society could lead to healthy personal relationships with the people and the community, which then strengthens the position of that person during middle adulthood.



Berger, K. S. (2010). Invitation to the lifespan. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Crain, W. (2011). Theories of Development: Concepts and Applications (6th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Sommers, C. (2010). The War against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men. New York: Simon & Schuster.