Social-Emotional Development in Late Adulthood

Social-Emotional Development in
Late Adulthood
Erikson’s Theory
• Ego integrity vs. despair involves
coming to terms with one’s life.
• Ego integrity
– Feel whole, complete, and satisfied
with their achievements
– Adapted skills to deal with triumphs
and disappointments
– Capacity to view one’s life in the
larger context
Erikson’s Theory
• Despair
– feelings that one made many wrong
decisions, but time is too short to
– Difficult to accept death is near
• Overwhelmed by bitterness, defeat,
– Feelings expressed as anger and
contempt disguised as contempt for
Reminiscence and Life Review
• Reminiscence- telling stories about past
people and events & associated thoughts
and feelings
• Why? Does it matter?
– Promotes positive emotionality and is
• Life Review- Form of reminiscence but
contemplates meaning of events in order
to achieve a greater self understanding
Relationships in Late
• 1 in 4 (or 5) in N. America survives for 50
• Perceptions of fairness increase as men
participate more in household tasks
• Engage in more joint leisure activities
• Greater emotional understanding leads
to more positive interactions
• Video
Divorce and Remarriage
• Divorce in late adulthood is rare
• Though, the divorce rate is rising
– New generations accept marital breakup
– rates are rising for second and subsequent
• More personal failure- difficult to
separate from identity of spouse
• Self-criticism heightens guilt and
– Self-worth is based on past rather than
future accomplishments
Never Married, Childless, Older
• Only about 5%
• Most develop alternative
meaningful relationships (friends
and family members)
• Women in this category report life
sat. equal to married elders and
greater than divorcees and
– Inconsistent for men