Subjective Meanings and Identification With Middle Age

Pnina Dolberg, Liat Ayalon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The “middle-age” life period has not been researched extensively and lacks a theoretical conceptualization. The present study explores subjective experiences of members of this age-group. This is a qualitative research, based on in-depth interviews and thematic analysis, which looks into the life stories of 25 Israeli residents aged 48–64 years. The results indicate that the definition of middle age is not clear-cut, and some participants regard their age negatively. Yet, participants report that this period is characterized by a relief of tasks, broader choice opportunity, a sense of liberation, peace of mind, experience, self-awareness, and self-acceptance. Description of middle age as a peak in life, with concerns about future old age, came up repeatedly. Middle-aged individuals‘ difficulties to identify with their age-group and the social concept that dichotomizes age into young versus old are discussed. The article calls for further research of and engagement with middle age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-76
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, The Author(s) 2017.


  • Israel
  • age identification
  • life course transitions
  • middle age
  • qualitative research


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