This chapter outlines the background, nature, and explanations of existential crises. An unresolved existential crisis commonly causes depression. Crises occur in periods throughout the life cycle. They usually involve careers, relationships, or identity. The resolution often requires a development of a new stage of intellectual functioning, through which people can reflect on their interests and stage. The Existential Crisis Assessment measures severity of an existential crisis. A factor analysis showed the most important items in a person’s existential crisis. My life, life in the universe, and relationships were the most important factors determining the severity of a person’s existential crisis. The first solution is to match a person to a career. Another solution is to match one person to another. Three scales are used to match people to careers and partners: (1) decision-making measures how well a person addresses tasks of increasing difficulty; (2) perspective-taking predicts how well a person understands behavior of self and others; (3) core complexity interest scale identifies the reinforcement value of engaging. A further solution is that of cognitive behavioral therapy that can be used to both treat depression and offer training on social perspective-taking, a key ingredient to resolving one’s crisis.
Part of the book: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy