This investigation provides insight into the lives of males who participated in the counterculture movement of the 1960′s. Eight males who were involved in the movement in the 1960′s and have remained non-traditional in their lifestyle until the present were interviewed to provide an understanding of their mid-life experience. Two people who knew each respondent well (key informants) were also interviewed to provide corroborative material. Data obtained from over 1500 pages of transcripts were analyzed according to qualitative methodology.
The data collected from these interviews led to findings in four areas. First, reasons for the respondents’ initial involvement in the counterculture were explored. Although several reasons emerged, the most salient one involved the respondents’ commitment to protest against the War in Vietnam.
Secondly, reasons for remaining in the counterculture were sought. The respondents in this study felt that they were more committed to socio-political issues than their peers, many of who went through only a brief counterculturephase.
Third, the respondents’ level of satisfaction at mid-life was explored. The eight respondents generally reported satisfaction in the areas of career, love life, parenting, friendships, hobbies and avocations, and the meaning of life for them.
Finally, concerns typical of males at mid-life and the issue of mid-life crisis were examined. The males in the sample reported that they were generally not worriers. Mid-life crisis for them was the exception, not the rule.
These findings led to six conclusions concerning the mid-life experience of counterculture males and adults in general. One notable conclusion was that it was not critical for the respondents to accomplish developmental tasks appropriate to their chronological age to achieve satisfaction as adults. One implication of this conclusion is that, though developmental theories emphasizing age-appropriate task completion may provide a valuable blueprint for describing the Western, middle-class mid-life experience, they may not be suitable to describe the diversity of certain non-traditional groups.