In May of 1977, Daniel Levinson constructed a model of the season's of a mans life. His developmental theory consists of universal stages or phases that extends from the infancy state to the elderly state. Most development theories, such as Freud's psychosexual development theory or Piaget's cognitive development theory, end in the adolescent stage of life. Levinson's stage theory is important because it goes beyond most theories assuming that development continues throughout adult life.
Levinson based his model on biographical interviews of 40 American men. These 40 men were between 35 to 45 years in age and they worked as either biology professors, novelists, business executives or industrial laborers. The biographical interviews lasted one or two hours and ranged from six to ten interviews for each subject. The questions asked focused on the subject's life accounts in their post adolescent years. The interviews focused on topics such as the men's background (education, religion, political beliefs) and major events or turning points in their lives.
Levinson's concept of life structure (the men's socio-cultural world, their participation in their world and various aspects of themselves) is the major component in Levinson's theory. The life structure for each person evolves through the developmental stages as people's age.
Two key concepts in Levinson's model are the stable period and the transitional period in a person's development. The stable period is the time when a person makes crucial choices in life, builds a life structure around the choices and seeks goals within the structure. The transitional period is the end of a person's stage and the beginning of a new stage.
Levinson's model contains five main stages. They are the pre-adulthood stage (age 0 - 22), the early adulthood stage (age 17 - 45), the middle adult stage (age 40 - 65), the late...