Solved IGNOU Assignment >> MPC002 >> Q8

8. Analyse Levinson’s theory and its features in adulthood development.

The Stage-Crisis View is a theory of adult development that was established by Daniel Levinson in his 1978 publication entitled "The Seasons of a Man's Life."

According to his theory, various developmental tasks must be mastered as one progresses through each era; pre-adulthood, early adulthood, middle adulthood, and late adulthood. Crises are also experienced throughout the lifecycle and occur when one become burdened by either internal or external factors, such as during the midlife crisis that occurs during the midlife transition from early adulthood to middle adulthood.

At the center of Levinson's theory is the life structure.  This is an underlying pattern of an individual's life at any given point in time.  It is shaped mainly by their social and physical environment, and involves family and work.  Other variables such as religion, race, and status are often important as well.

There are two key concepts:
1. Stable Period - the time when a person makes crucial choices in life
2. Transitional Period - the end of a person's stage and the beginning of a new one. Life during these transitions can be either rocky or smooth, but the quality and significance of one’s life commitments often change between the beginning and end of a period.

As per the theory, there are 6 stages of adulthood:
1. Early adult transition (17-22) - leave adolescence, make preliminary choices for adult life
2. Entering the adult world (22-28) - make initial choices in love, occupation, friendship, values, lifestyle
3. Age 30 transition (28-33) - changes occur in life structure, either a moderate change or, more often, a severe and stressful crisis
4. Settling down (33-40) - establish a niche in society, progress on a timetable, in both family and career accomplishments; are expected to think and behave like a parent so they are facing more demanding roles and expectations .
5. Mid-life transition (40-45) - life structure comes into question, usually a time of crisis in the meaning, direction, and value of each person's life.  Neglected parts of the self (talents, desires, aspirations) seek expression.  Men becoming increasingly aware of death and they are reminded of how short life really is.  They become involved in trying to leave a legacy and this usually forms the core of the second half of his life.
6. Entering middle adulthood (45-50) - choices must be made, a new life structure formed.  person must commit to new tasks.

* Some sources also stated that there was a late adulthood stage during which time a man spent time reflecting on past achievements and regrets, and making peace with one's self and others (including God).

* * *

To summarize, Levinson’s theory suggests humans progress through various stages in life viz. early adult transition, entering the adult world, age 30 transition, settling down, mid-life transition and entering middle adulthood. The progression happens as they master various developmental tasks.


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MPC001: Cognitive Psychology
MPC002: LifeSpan Psychology
MPC003: Personality: Theories and Assessment
MPC004: Advanced Social Psychology
MPC005: Research Methods in Psychology
MPC006: Statistics in Psychology

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