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Am I Having a Midlife Crisis

Am I having a Midlife Crisis?

Just as men have for years, women are experiencing midlife crises — but in ways far different than men. By the age of 50, 36.1 percent of women report having a midlife crisis, defined as a stressful or turbulent psychological transition that occurs most often in one's late 40s or early 50s, as compared to 34 percent of men of the same age. Consequently, of the 42 million women who are nearing or in middle age — 38 to 55 years old — more than 15 million of them can be expected to undergo this difficult transition.

Women experience bigger changes than men in middle age, and they are more likely to have a more positive attitude about their prospects in life. Women report experiencing a more dramatic rebound in personal fulfillment at midlife after a deeper dip in their child-rearing years; 36 percent of women 50-64 find themselves reaching some fulfilling personal goal in the preceding five years, while only 28 percent of men can say the same.

Women's midlife crises are more apt to be triggered by family events or problems such as divorce, a parent's death, an extramarital affair, or a sense of inadequacy as a parent; men's crises, on the other hand, are more likely to be driven by work or career issues. And how they deal with the crises differs, also. Women are more likely than men to talk with others about their inner turmoil, to openly seek solutions, and to look for remedies in the larger community and society.

Why are women facing these crises? Women in middle age today are very different from their mothers and grandmothers. As they increasingly move into the workplace, they face new stresses which can bring on a midlife crisis. But they also have the financial resources, the skills, and the confidence to tackle the turmoil. They have a sense of freedom at midlife which can lead to a time of powerful renewal for themselves.

(Source: Campbell-Ewald - Orginally Printed in The Wall Street Journal)


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