What Are Levinson’s Theories on Adulthood?

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The Adult Development website explains that Daniel Levinson’s theory on adulthood includes the idea of three stages of adulthood occurring in a person’s life after adolescence. These stages are known as early, middle and late adulthood.

The Adult Development website states that the stages of adulthood are distinguished by specific tasks by which a person tries to modify the structure of his life. Each stage of adulthood lasts approximately 25 years with transitions between each stage that usually last from three to six years. These transitional stages are often very difficult or violent since continued development calls for a paradigm shift to an extent.

As Adult Development explains, there are four total stages in Levinson’s theory. The first is childhood, which lasts from birth to age 20. Early adulthood begins at age 17 and lasts until age 45. Middle adulthood begins at age 40 and lasts until age 65. Anyone 60 or older is considered to be in the late adulthood stage.

A reoccurring theme throughout all the stages is the “dream,” according to Adult Development. The “dream” is a mental representation of what an individual considers to be his perfect life. The view of the “dream” and what it means often change along with a specific individual’s perceptions or assumptions. Another important element throughout all the stages is individuation, which normally becomes a larger “need” once someone reaches early adulthood. The early adulthood transition, which occurs from ages 17 to 22, is usually considered to be very difficult and thought-provoking