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Later-life crisis: Towards a holistic model

Later-life crisis: Towards a holistic model

Robinson, Oliver C. ORCID: 0000-0002-6758-2223 and Stell, Alexander J. (2015) Later-life crisis: Towards a holistic model. Journal of Adult Development, 22 (1). pp. 38-49. ISSN 1068-0667 (Print), 1573-3440 (Online) (doi:

12517_ROBINSON_JADULTDEV_Later_Life_Crisis_article_final_(AAM)_(2014).pdf - Accepted Version
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Crisis episodes have been most commonly associated with midlife, and correspondingly research on crisis after midlife is marked by its absence. Here, we report findings from a retrospective interview-based study of 21 adults about crises occurring between the ages of 60 and 69, in the first attempt to explore the holistic structure, process and experiential contents of later-life crisis. Basing our analysis on existing models of late-adult development, four key areas of later-life crisis were explored as follows: (1) life events and relationships, (2) self and identity, (3) motivation and goals and (4) cognition and affect. We were able to define a provisional common holistic process to later-life crisis episodes, shared by all participants, which included multiple loss-inducing stressful life events that provide a cumulative challenge to coping resources, a struggle with ego integrity, increased mortality awareness and the re-scaling of goals, activities and roles in ways that pertain to re-engagement, continuity or disengagement. Findings are discussed in relation to theories of adult development in later life, while strategies are proposed for future research on this understudied area.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The ‘Author’s Accepted Manuscript’ version is attached to this record. The final publication is available at Springer via
Uncontrolled Keywords: crisis, later life, retirement, ego integrity, Third Age, disengagement, qualitative
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Human Sciences (HUM)
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2020 08:30

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