Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Upton I 145
Midlife Crisis/Levinson/Upton: the transition from ages 40—45 is an especially significant time of life - a time of midlife crisis when a person questions his or her entire life structure, raising unsettling questions about where they have been and where they are heading. Levinson based his theory on a series of in-depth interviews and characterized 80 per cent of the men he studied as experiencing intense inner struggles and disturbing realizations in their early forties.
Women: women, however, experience significant crisis during the transition at age 30, as well as in the transition to middle age. Levinson (1986(1), 1996(2)). >Stages of Development/Levinson, >Method/Levinson.
VsLevinson: see >Midlife Crisis/Psychological theories.
Upton I 147
Women: In the 1980s, Levinson interviewed 45 women of the same age (Levinson, 1996)(2). The sample comprised equal numbers of women who were either homemakers, college instructors or businesswomen. He found that, in general, women go through the same type of life cycles that men do. However, they were less likely to enter adulthood with specific goals and, as a result, were less likely to define success in terms of key career events. Rather than focusing on external events, women usually sought changes in personal identity in midlife.


1. Levinson, DJ (1986) The Seasons of a Man’s Life. New York: Alfred Knopf.
2. Levinson, DJ (1996) The Seasons of a Woman’s Life. New York Alfred Knopf.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Levinson, Daniel J.
Upton I
Penney Upton
Developmental Psychology 2011


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