Some Problems with the Concept of “Normal Aging”

  • Ilse V. Colett


The normal human life cycle has been discussed at length in the recent professional literature. We have been educated about the “passages” or “life transitions” that each individual experiences in the orderly sequence of roles, relationships and life events that most people experience. A central theme in this adult development literature is the idea that there are in each life certain predictable and normal challenges to emotional well-being. These are sometimes called “normative crises” with the implication that certain intrapsychic conflicts are the normal results of certain developmental changes. Thus the aggression of a “terrible twos” toddler, the moodiness of the volatile pubescent adolescent and the grim and sometimes humorless overwork of the young adult climbing the career ladder are all viewed as inevitable and even adaptive states of affairs.


Mental Health Aging Person Normal Aging Attributional Style Adaptive State 
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  1. E. E. Maccoby, “Social Development”, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York (1980).Google Scholar
  2. Z. Rubin and E.B. McNeil, “The Psychology of Being Human”, Third Edition, Harper and Row, New York (1981).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilse V. Colett
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California Medical SchoolSan FranciscoUSA

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