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An exploratory study of midlife transition in South Africa : in search of the midlife crisis

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dc.contributor.advisor Ferns, Ilse, 1961- Palk, L. C. (Lawrence Carrington) 2015-08-14T09:57:50Z 2015-08-14T09:57:50Z 2015-02
dc.identifier.citation Palk, L. C. (Lawrence Carrington) (2015) An exploratory study of midlife transition in South Africa : in search of the midlife crisis, University of South Africa, Pretoria, <> en
dc.description.abstract Strong opposing views exist with the popularly held notion that a midlife crisis is a normative phenomenon whilst a number of international researchers assert that the evidence shows the opposite to be true. It is nevertheless acknowledged that the psychology of midlife was one of the least researched areas internationally until the 1990s when certain aspects of midlife were investigated in the United States. Findings from these studies did not include the impact of a multiplicity of factors in combination at midlife. A new approach to the study of the life course using a combination model taking account of the influence of societal structures as well as the interplay between parts has been suggested. Such an approach to midlife transition and crisis research is not known to have taken place in South Africa or internationally. A conceptual model of midlife transition and crisis was constructed from known research and relevant literature and tested using a sample of 220 individuals aged between 30 and 65. The validity of the model was established and a methodologically sound measuring instrument was validated as a more accurate measurement of midlife crisis than a self-described experience. Two factors provisionally named stagnation and death and aging anxiety were found to exist. A true midlife crisis was experienced by a minority of individuals (IS percent) but an additional 31 percent had a troublesome but manageable experience. A neurotic disposition. the absence of good parental relationships, and the use of inappropriate coping skills such as wishful thinking were in combination related to high scores on the midlife crisis scales. A qualitative study revealed that over 90 percent of respondents were able to define a midlife crisis accurately although they tended to overstate the occurrence thereof. This replicates the research findings in the United States. Stagnation was experienced more acutely by individuals aged between 40 and 50 years whilst death and aging anxiety was the primary experience for those over 50 years. The validated conceptual model and measuring instruments can be used by therapists and coaches to facilitate the counselling or coaching process with clients experiencing midlife crisis. en
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (xiv, 450 pages) : illustrations (some color)
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Midlife transition
dc.subject Midlife crisis
dc.subject Stagnation
dc.subject Immobility
dc.subject Death and aging anxiety
dc.subject Relationship with parents
dc.subject Neuroticism
dc.subject Wishful thinking
dc.subject.ddc 155.660968
dc.subject.lcsh Midlife crises -- South Africa -- Psychological aspects
dc.subject.lcsh Middle aged persons -- South Africa -- Psychology
dc.subject.lcsh Middle age -- South Africa -- Psychological aspects
dc.subject.lcsh Middle age -- Psychological aspects
dc.subject.lcsh Middle aged persons -- South Africa -- Conduct of life
dc.title An exploratory study of midlife transition in South Africa : in search of the midlife crisis en
dc.type Thesis en
dc.description.department Psychology en D. Comm. (Consulting Psychology)

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