Assignment 4 – Reading and Reviewing Mid-Life Education

For this assignment I was looking back at the previous assignment and the information that I had collected about mid-life education, and will now expand upon two of the texts that I discovered. First I will briefly explain the texts and then write my own comments and how they relate/affect our RSA brief work on mid-life.

The first text I read was  “Motives in American men and women across the adult life span.” by Veroff, J., Reuman, D. and Feld, S.

Motives in American men and women across the adult life span is based on two studies done in 1957 and 1976. The main purpose of these studies was to give a widespread view on personality (which in previous investigations has been too specific to the specialized study) and to determine motive assessments of men and woman throughout their lifetimes.

There is pre-existing explorations into this field of research which are discussed as an introduction to the information gathered from this study. Goldstine, Gutmann, Neugarten, Ruff, Baltes, Lowenthal, Cummings & Henry, Fiske, Jung, Erikson, Levinson and Nesselroade are the main academics the text uses for its own historical context. Without going into too much detail, these previous studies suggest that as men age their dominant and primal sides are replaced by a neediness and within woman the urge to become caretakers is replaced by their own egos. Within both men and woman they find that younger people are positioned around principles which enable them to care for familial and work responsibilities but as they age their standards become more self-indulgent and centred around an easy life. There are three main theories for “motives across the life cycle” within these studies: motives alter as prospects change at different phases though life, motives remain constant throughout the life cycle although the circumstances and form of manifestation might change and motives arise as a result of “experiences with frustration and gratification”.

There are four motives that these studies aim to investigate.

  1. Motive for achievement – accomplishments with high ideals. The aims of this motive are completing these accomplishments, that are set not only by ourselves but by others and overcoming the tendency to judge ourselves based on a social level.
  2. Motive for affiliation – pursuing relationships with other humans, in particular with similarities to ourselves which involves overcoming and eluding rejection.
  3. Motive for power as fear of weakness – the escaping of being controlled, and being known as someone with a high social position.
  4.  Motive for power as hope of power – the want to have an influence on the world and the people around you.














Veroff, J., Reuman, D. and Feld, S. (1984) “Motives in American men and women across the adult life span.”, Developmental Psychology[electronic], Vol 20, No.6, p.1142-1158, Available 10.1037/0012-1649.20.6.1142


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