The Adult in Society
Adult Male Development
 Daniel Levinson, Yale
 Extensive study of adult males through interviews,
determining each man’s life structure: the
combination of statuses, roles, values, goals, beliefs,
and life circumstances that characterize an
 Three basic eras of adulthood: early adulthood,
middle, and late adulthood
 Each era begins with a transitional period
Early Adulthood
 17-22 early adult transition, most important task is
leaving home, physically and psychologically
 23-27 entering the adult world, individual is
expected to explore a variety of relationships and
career opportunities, ALSO expected to become a
responsible member of society
 Development of an adult dream of accomplishment,
career goals
 28-32 Age 30 transition, examine choices made to this
point, crucial to future development because it is often
characterized by shifts in direction
 Divorces common
 Bad choices can have far reaching consequences
 These are called the NOVICE PHASES
 33-39 Settling down period, form true commitments,
toward end make conscious effort to establish own
identity separate from mentor (Becoming One’s Own
Man, Levinson).
Middle & Late Adulthood
 40-44 Midlife transition, marked by self-
examination, early dreams not fulfilled, reformulate
along more realistic lines, period of moderate to
severe crisis for 80%, become a mentor
 45-49 middle adulthood
 50-54 Age 50 Transition
 55-59 culmination of middle adulthood
 60-64 late adult transition
 65+ late adulthood
Adult Female Development
 Frieze & Sales research, female development is
 Phase I: Leaving the family: psychological break, less
career, historically marriage
 Phase II: Entering the Adult world, multiple roles as
spouse, parent, career put on added strain. Stay out
of workplace while children are young, re-entry
 Phase III: Entering the Adult world again
The World of Work
 The Labor force- all individuals 16 or older who are
employed in paid positions or are looking for work.
 Composition: 1970 38% women, 2000 47% women,
about half of professional jobs (a high status
occupation that requires specialized skills obtained
through formal education)
 Rise minority workers as percentage of total labor
force, US largest growing sector is Hispanics
 Rise in average education level, 1/3 college degree
Unemployment, full employment is considered 95%
Occupations: types of jobs
Executive, administrative, managerial
Professional specialty
Technical occupations
Sales workers
Administrative support
Service occupations
Precision production, craft, repair workers
Operators, fabricators, laborers
Farming, forestry, fishing
Transportation and material moving
 Changing nature of work in America
 1900 35% farming
 2000 2.6 % farming, fishing and forestry combined
 Today, 73% labor force in professional, office, sales
and service jobs
Job Satisfaction
 Gold watch vs. job changing
 Average American holds 9 jobs between the ages of
18 and 34
 Change careers from 5-6 times in a lifetime
The Later Years
 Improved health care changes longevity
 By 2030, 20% of population will be 65 and older
 Gerontology is the study of the processes and
phenomena of aging
Social gerontology is the study of the nonphysical
aspects of the aging process
Young old—65-74
Middle old 75-84
Old-old 85+
 Adjustment to retirement, no longer define one self
by occupation
Economic situation key factor in determining
Linked to larger social world, maintaining social
networks contributes to quality of life, volunteering
can replace lost identity
Suicide rate highest for white males as identity is
more tightly tied to work
Questions of engagement v disengagement
 Physical and mental functioning
 Most slow down as age but most elderly people
retain intellectual abilities throughout life
 Alzheimer’s disease, an organic condition that results
in progressive deterioration of brain cells, 8-15% of
 Dealing with dependency and death
 New opportunities
 Lobbying groups- Gray Panthers or American
Association of Retired Persons
 Part time jobs, volunteering, Service Corps of Retired
Executives (SCORE), Foster grandparent programs