Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 139–155 | Cite as

The new mythologies and premature aging in the youth culture

  • David Gutmann


Comparative studies of aging men in a variety of preliterate traditional societies suggest that older men, across cultures, are relatively mild and uncompetitive, as compared to younger men from the same communities. Older men are more interested in receiving than in producing, more interested in communion than in agency; their sense of pleasure and security is based on food, religion, and the assurance of love. The counterculture gives priority to the same themes, and thereby seems to sponsor a premature senescence, in the psychological sense. Various contemporary myths stemming from affluence and consumerism that have led to the new geriatrics are examined, particularly the myth of the all-including, omnipotential self, which is seen as a translation of socialist, collectivist ideals into the domain of personality. The effects of the new psychic collectivism on ego development in the adolescent and postadolescent periods are also considered.


Health Psychology School Psychology Collectivist Ideal Premature Aging Traditional Society 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Gutmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn Arbor

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