1) Describe physical changes occurring during middle adulthood. By the forties, difficulty reading small print is a common experience. Around age 60 a condition called presbyopia, meaning, literally, "old eyes" develops. Throughout adulthood, the size of the pupil shrinks and the lens yellow. Consequently, the amount of light reaching the retina is reduced. Hearing is another change that occurs during middle adulthood. 14 percent of American adults between 45 and 64 years of age have a hearing loss. As we age, inner ear structures that transform mechanical sound waves into neural impulses deteriorate due to natural cell death or reduced blood supply as a result of atherosclerosis. Muscle mass declines very gradually in the forties and fifties. A common pattern of change is an increase in body fat and loss of lean body mass (muscle and bone). Reduction of bone density during adulthood is substantial, about 8 to 12 percent for men and 20 to 30 percent for women. When bone loss is very great, it leads to a debilitating disorder called osteoporosis. The changes involved in women's climacteric (mid-life transition in which fertility declines) occur gradually over a 10year period. The climacteric concludes with menopause (the end of menstruation and reproductive capacity). On the average, this occurs at age 51. .
2) Why are stress management issues talked about in this chapter on middle adulthood? Middle adulthood is often a productive period in which people attain their greatest accomplishments and life satisfactions. It takes considerable stamina to cope with the full array of changes this phase of life can bring. As adults encounter problems at home and at work, daily hassles can add up to a serious stress load. Adults who cope effectively use a mixture of problem and emotion centered techniques, depending on the situation. Constructive approaches to anger reduction are a vital health intervention.