Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Author Item Summary Meta data
Upton I 145
Levinson/adulthood/stages of development/Developmental psychology/Upton: Levinson (1986(1), 1996(2)) was correct in thinking that early adulthood is the time that we explore vocational possibilities. The evidence supports a process of making tentative commitments and revising them as necessary before establishing yourself in what you hope will be a suitable occupation (Super et al.. 1996)(3).
Indeed, more than twice as many tentative and exploratory vocational decisions are seen at age 21 than at 36, and this is true for both men (Philips. 1982(4)) and women (Jenkins. 1989)(5).
Careers tend to peak during the forties (Simonton. 1990)(6), when there is a tendency for adults to define themselves in terms of their work.
However, factors such as personality and gender seem to mediate career success; conscientiousness, extraversion and emotional stability are all associated with job performance (Ozer and Benet-Martinez. 2006)(7) and, even at the start of the twenty-first century, many women still subordinate career goals to family ones (Kirchmeyer, 2006)(8).
VsLevinson: There is much less evidence to support Levinson’s suggestion of a midlife crisis. >Midlife Crisis/Levinson, >Midlife Crisis/Psychological theories.
Upton I 148
VsLevinson/Upton: While it is good that Levinson acknowledged this personal interest, [one] might wonder whether this influenced his interpretation of the findings. [One] might also argue that the biographical interview is not very objective and that Levinson’s sample is not very representative.
(…) men who were interviewed for Levinson’s studies would have been born between 1924 and 1934. They were therefore raised in the 1930s and 1940s. Women and men who grew up during this time were gender-typed to a much greater extent than males and females are today.
Other problems with the studies:
Life experiences: Men who have grown up in the last few decades may well have had to deal with less stable families due to high divorce rates, as well as having to deal with a different kind of economy.
Women: the upbringing, aims and expectations of women today are very different from those at the time of Levinson’s work.


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.
3. Super, D, Savickas, M, and Super, C (1996). The life-span, life-space approach to careers, in D.
Brown, L Brooks, and Associates (Eds.), Career Choice and Development (3rd ed., 121-78). San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
4. Philips, SD (1982) Career exploration in adulthood .Journal of Vocational Behaviour, 20: 129-
40.
5. Jenkins, SR (1989) Longitudinal prediction of women’s careers: psychological, behavioral, and social-structural influences .Journal of Vocational Behavior, 34: 204-35.
6. Simonton, DK (1990). Creativity in the later years: optimistic prospects for achievement.
Gerontologist) 30, 626-3 1.
7. Ozer, DJ and Benet-Martinez, V (2006) Personality and the prediction of consequential outcome. Psychology, 57:402-21.
8. Kirchmeyer, C (2006) The difference effects of family on objective career success across gender: a test of alternative explanations. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 68: 323-46.


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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.
Developmental Psychology
Upton I
Penney Upton
Developmental Psychology 2011


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-09-18
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