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Lauren Ballard &
Brandon Beshay
Adulthood’s Dominate Aspects
• Erikson’s terms:
– Intimacy: Forming close relationships
– Generativity: Being productive and supporting future
• Researcher’s terms:
– Affiliation and achievement, attachment and
productivity, commitment and competence
• Sigmund Freud put it most simply:
– The healthy adult is one who can love and work
• Evolutionary Perspective: Parents who cooperate to nurture their
children to maturity are more likely to have their genes passed along
than parents who don’t
• 93% of American mothers feel an overwhelming love for their children
unlike anything they feel for anyone else
• Adult bonds of love are most satisfying and enduring when marked by a
similarity of interests and values, a sharing of emotional and material
support, and intimate self-disclosure
• Marriage bonds are also likely to last when couples marry after age 20
and are well educated, yet they are twice as likely to divorce
• Expectations are higher and demand: an enduring bond, a wage earner,
caregiver, intimate friend, and a warm and responsive lover
• Both Canada and the United States now have about one divorce for
every two marriages
Love (Cont.)
• People who cohabit before marriage tend to be less committed to the
idea of enduring marriage, and they become even less marriagesupporting while cohabiting
• 9 in 10 heterosexual adults marry worldwide In Western countries, 3 in
4 who divorce will remarry
• Since 1972, surveys if more than 40,000 Americans reveal that 40% of
married adults, though only 23% of unmarried adults, report being “very
– Lesbian couples also report greater well-being than those who are alone
• Neighborhoods with high marriage rates typically have low rates of social
pathologies such as crime, delinquency, and emotional disorders among
• John Gottman: At lease a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions in
order to achieve marital success
Love (Cont.)
• When children begin to absorb time, money, and emotional energy,
satisfaction with the marriage itself may decline
– Likely among employed women who carry the traditional burden of doing
chores at home
– And equitable relationship can establish a more satisfying marriage, which
breeds better parent-child relations
• Compared with middle-aged women with children at home, those living
in an empty nest report greater happiness and greater enjoyment of
their marriage
– Many parents experience what sociologists Lynn White and John Edwards
call a “postlaunch honeymoon”
• Freud believed work, including a career,
contributes to self-fulfillment and life
• Researchers who have studied the worksatisfaction relationship have concluded that
what matters is not which roles (paid worker,
wife/mother) a woman occupies but the
quality of her experience in those roles
• During the first two years of college or
university, most students shift from their
initially intended majors and change careers