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January 1972

Transition to the Empty Nest: Crisis, Challenge, or Relief?

Author Affiliations

San Francisco
From the Adult Development Research Program, Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute, University of California, San Francisco.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1972;26(1):8-14. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1972.01750190010003

The present study examines evidence for and against a midlife crisis in an intensively studied sample of 54 middle and lower-middle class men and women whose youngest child is about to leave home. While some members of the sample had serious problems, the confrontation of the empty nest, when compared with retrospections of the low points in the past and expectations of the future is not of a nature to justify use of the term "crisis." The departure of the youngest child, indeed, was generally anticipated with a sense of relief.