In a new study, a researcher found that feeling pressured by advertisers and self-help gurus to live a better life could lead to mid-life crises in people when they pass the age of 40.
The research was conducted by Professor Mark Jackson from the University of Exeter.
As people get older, many of them may experience trauma because they feel anxious about aging and death. The demands of a consumer society also put a lot of pressure on them.
In mid-life crises, people become disillusioned with work, disenchanted with relationships, and look to detach themselves from responsibilities.
They pursue happiness through material consumption leading sometimes to family breakdown and mental health problems.
Previous research has attributed mid-life crises to psychological and biological problems.
In the current study, the researcher found that changes in the economy and changing patterns during aging are responsible.
He found that in the mid-twentieth century, nuclear families generated opportunities for people to become dissatisfied with their life and achievements.
This was exacerbated by the growth in popularity of self-help books and writers encouraging people to think that life could “begin again” after 40 and urging them to re-examine how they live.
Companies also used this idea to market their products and services to older consumers with expendable income.
Many people believe that as they age they should be happier and healthier, able to use their income to purchase leisure and fitness.
They haven’t achieved their dreams by midlife, they become disappointed and frustrated, experiencing some form of crisis.
The researcher suggests that this is very much a Western problem, as other cultures have different ways of aging and different family structures.
He hopes his work can change perceptions about the socio-economic and cultural causes of the mid-life crisis.
It is important to help people to prepare for issues they may face as they age.
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