Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 201–211 | Cite as

Images of midlife development among young, middle-aged, and older adults

  • Margie E. Lachman
  • Corinne Lewkowicz
  • Ari Marcus
  • Ying Peng


This study examined patterns of perceived change across adulthood in a sample of 121 young (M age=19.8 years), middle-aged (M age=47.9 years) and older (M age=74.6 years) adults. Subjects rated amount of stress in life domains, salience of life course issues, and nature of personal attributes for young, middle-aged, and older targets. Seven prototypical patterns of perceived change were found. Midlife was seen as a period with many responsibilities, increased stress in several domains, and little time for leisure, but also as a peak in competence, ability to handle stress, sense of control, productivity, and social responsibility. The findings are discussed in terms of losses, which were seen primarily in the physical realm, and gains, which were mainly seen in the psychological and social realms.

Key words

Midlife development images perceived change 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margie E. Lachman
    • 1
  • Corinne Lewkowicz
    • 1
  • Ari Marcus
    • 1
  • Ying Peng
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBrandeis UniversityWaltham

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