Creative Aging: Stimulating Creativity in Middle and Late Adulthood

Creative Aging: Stimulating Creativity in Middle and Late Adulthood

Anna Kristina Keyser (Marymount Manhattan College, USA) and Michael Corning (Marymount Manhattan College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0504-4.ch003
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This chapter introduces the Developmental and Intelligence Theories of middle and late adulthood and relates them to the complex construct of creativity. Analyses of these theories in regard to middle adulthood assess why an individual may be the most immersed in creativity during this period of life. This is followed by a conclusive examination of ways in which to stimulate creativity in the later years, primarily through looking at the relation between developmental theories and the impact of a cognitively rich environment. These two periods of the lifespan encompass a majority of the average adult's existence in this world, and as such provide a framework upon which the necessity of stimulating creativity must be examined.
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Introduction To Middle Adulthood

Middle adulthood, which may also be referred to as mature adulthood, is a time in an individual’s life that occurs between early adulthood and old age. In terms of age, an individual is in the middle adulthood stage of life between the ages of 40 and 60. Developmentally, individuals in the middle adulthood phase have opportunities to engage in creativity in ways they never have before. These opportunities are especially evident from Erik Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development (McAdams, 1998). In addition to developmental theories, there are many other factors that may contribute to the stimulation of creativity throughout middle adulthood. Aspects of an individual’s emotional state, cognition, as well as sociocultural and environmental surroundings can greatly influence how creativity plays a role in this stage of life (Feldman & Benjamin, 2006; Maksić & Pavlović, 2011). These elements can be identified through examining intelligence theories, including the theories of Howard Gardner (2000) and Joy Paul Guilford (1967). By being actively engaged in creativity throughout middle adulthood, an individual may be able to achieve successful aging (Flood & Sharer, 2006).

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