Definition of Midlife crisis

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

Midlife crisis: A period of personal emotional turmoil and coping challenges that some people encounter when they reach middle age, accompanied by a desire for change in their lives, brought on by fears and anxieties about growing older.

The phrase "midlife crisis" was introduced in 1965 by the psychoanalyst and social scientist Elliott Jaques in a study of creative geniuses. In the lives of numerous composers and artists, Dr. Jaques found abrupt changes in style or declines in productivity about age 35.


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