Adult life roles

Adult life involves constant changes and some can be very hard

As you go through life, you have a range of roles: employee, provider, caregiver, spouse or partner, parent, grandparent. Each of these roles comes with different expectations.

Typically, we experience changes in roles during significant events in life, such as a child moving away from home or retirement from a long career. While these can be changes for the good, they can also bring with them all sorts of new pressures and challenges. Sometimes we find that what’s important to us changes and we set new goals.


Most people spend most of their day at work, so it’s not surprising that the hassles, successes and failures there can play a big role in how you feel about yourself as a person. They may also affect how you feel about yourself as a provider for your whānau. 

Job loss, unemployment and money problems can have a negative impact on your physical and emotional health. If you’re not working, you’re missing out on the social support you get from workmates and colleagues.

Having a job has been shown to improve wellbeing. However it's also known that ongoing and extreme stress in the workplace is related to poor physical and mental health. Even if you enjoy your work, you need to maintain a steady balance between work and home. 

Long-term relationships

Most marriages or long-term partnerships have their fair share of stress, negotiation and compromise. However, some couples are in almost constant conflict. There can be continual argument about who’s in charge, household decisions, family (whānau) matters. Where there is any sort of domestic violence, your wellbeing and that of your children (tamariki) will be affected.

A relationship break-up also has a big impact on your social connections and whānau. It can mean that you are no longer able to see the people you’ve relied on for support. It’s even more stressful if tamariki are involved.

Looking after whānau

Parenthood comes with ever-changing responsibilities and pressures. Often these are related to your children’s life and money stress. It is very common for partners to disagree about how to raise their tamariki, and this can often be the cause of relationship problems.

When home life needs to fit in with work and other whānau responsibilities, it's common to find there’s no time left for yourself. And when blended families and/or step children are added to the mix, it can bring even more stress.

You may also have become a caregiver for ageing parents, or have several generations living in your house. This can be very demanding, further stretching your already limited time, energy and finances.

What next?

Once you understand what is contributing to the way you feel, you can learn what to do to start feeling better.

How to get better

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