Women's Personality in Middle Age: Gender, History, and Midcourse Corrections

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Abstract

This article examines several key features of the course of adult development in the cohort of women born during the baby boom. By focusing on the women in this group and comparing their experience with that of older cohorts and research on men, the authors demonstrate the need for models of aging that take account of the intersections of history, gender, and individual development. Concepts proposed as universal features of middle age (midlife crisis, generativity, aging), as well as those proposed as specific to women (empty nest, menopause) are examined. Perhaps most important, certain features not commonly viewed as particularly important in women's middle aging (midlife review, identity, confident power) are shown to be central. The need for further research examining these same processes among men and different groups of women is underscored.

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