Life-Span Development Twelfth Edition



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Life-Span Development Twelfth Edition

  • Chapter 13:
  • Physical and Cognitive Development in Early Adulthood

Becoming an Adult

  • Emerging Adulthood: the transition from adolescence to adulthood
    • Occurs from approximately 18 to 25 years of age
  • Characterized by experimentation and exploration
  • Key Features:
    • Identity exploration, especially in love and work
    • Instability
    • Self-focused
    • Feeling in-between
    • The age of possibilities, a time when individuals have an opportunity to transform their lives

Becoming an Adult

  • Three Characteristics of “Late-Bloomers”:
    • Support by adults
    • Being planful
    • Showing positive aspects of autonomy
  • Markers of Becoming an Adult:
    • Holding a more or less permanent, full-time job
    • Economic independence
    • Taking responsibility for oneself
    • Different criteria in other countries
      • Marriage

Becoming an Adult

  • Assets linked to well-being during transition to adulthood:
    • Intellectual: academic success, ability to plan, good decision-making skills
    • Psychological: mental health, mastery motivation, confidence, identity, values, community contributions
    • Social: connectedness to others through friendship and positive peer relations

Becoming an Adult

  • Negative aspects of high school to college transition:
    • Top-dog phenomenon
    • Movement to a larger, more impersonal school structure
    • Increased focus on achievement and assessment
  • Positive aspects of transition:
    • More likely to feel grown up
    • More subjects from which to select
    • More time to spend with peers
    • More opportunities to explore different lifestyles and values
    • Greater independence from parental monitoring
    • Intellectual challenges

Becoming an Adult

  • Stressful Circumstances:
    • Tests and finals
    • Grades and competition
    • Professors and class environment
    • Too many demands
    • Papers and essay exams
    • Career and future success
    • Studying
    • Intimate relationships
    • Finances
    • Parental conflicts and expectations
    • Roommate conflicts

Physical Development

  • Physical Performance and Development:
    • Peak physical performance typically occurs before the age of 30
      • Different types of athletes reach their peak performances at different ages
    • Muscle tone and strength usually begin to show signs of decline around age 30
  • Health:
    • Young adults have more than twice the mortality rate of adolescents
    • Few chronic health problems
    • Most college students know what behaviors will prevent illness and promote health, but many of them do not apply this information

Physical Development

Eating and Weight

  • Obesity:
    • Prevalence of obesity in U.S. adults is increasing
    • Linked to increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease
  • Factors Involved in Obesity:
    • Heredity
    • Leptin: a protein involved in feeling full
    • Set point
    • Environmental factor

Eating and Weight

Eating and Weight

  • Dieting:
    • As obesity rises, dieting is an obsession for many
    • 1/3 to 2/3 of dieters regain more weight than they lost on their diets
    • Most effective programs include exercise and daily weigh-ins
    • Diets can place the dieter at risk for other health problems
      • Yo-yo dieting
      • Low-calorie diets are linked with gallbladder damage

Eating and Weight

Eating and Weight

  • Regular Exercise:
    • Aerobic exercise: sustained exercise that stimulates heart and lung activity
    • Exercise benefits both physical and mental health
      • Improves self-concept and reduces anxiety and depression

Substance Abuse

  • Individuals in college are less likely to use drugs
    • Exception: alcohol
  • Alcohol:
    • Binge drinking:
      • Often increases in college
      • More common among men than women
      • Binge drinking peaks at about 21 to 22 years of age and then declines
      • Increases risk of having unprotected sex, falling behind in school, and driving drunk

Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse

  • Alcoholism: a disorder that involves long-term, repeated, uncontrolled, compulsive, and excessive use of alcoholic beverages
    • Impairs the drinker’s health and social relationships
    • One in nine of those who drink becomes an alcoholic
    • Family studies consistently reveal a high frequency of alcoholism in the first-degree relatives of alcoholics
    • Environmental factors play a role
    • By age 65:

Substance Abuse

  • Predictors for a Positive Outcome:
    • A strong negative experience related to drinking
    • Finding a substitute dependency to compete with alcohol abuse
    • Having new social supports
    • Joining an inspirational group
  • Cigarette Smoking and Nicotine:
    • Fewer people smoke today than in the past
    • More is known about the risks of smoking
    • Nicotine addiction prevents many from quitting
    • Health risks decrease when one quits smoking

Sexuality

  • During emerging adulthood, most individuals are both sexually active and unmarried
  • Patterns of Heterosexual Behavior:
    • Males have more casual sex partners, while females report being more selective
    • 60% have had sexual intercourse with only 1 individual in the last year
    • 25% report having sexual intercourse only a couple of times a year or not at all
    • Casual sex is more common in emerging adulthood than in young adulthood

Sexuality

  • Key Findings from 1994 Sex in America Survey:
    • Americans tend to fall into three categories:
      • 1/3 have sex twice a week or more
      • 1/3 a few times a month
      • 1/3 a few times a year or not at all
    • Married (and cohabiting) couples have sex more often than non-cohabiting couples
    • Most Americans do not engage in kinky sexual acts
    • Adultery is the exception rather than the rule
    • Men think about sex far more often than women do

Sexuality

  • Sources of Sexual Orientation
    • Many people view sexual orientation as a continuum from exclusive male–female relations to exclusive same-sex relations (with bisexuality in the middle)
    • All people have similar physiological responses during sexual arousal
    • Higher prevalence of mental disorders in lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals
      • Due to stress associated with stigma
    • Homosexuality was once considered a mental disorder, but the classification was discontinued in the 1970s

Sexuality

  • Sources of Sexual Orientation
    • Possible biological basis of same-sex relations:
      • Sexual orientation does not change when gay men are given male sex hormones (androgens)
      • Possible exposure to female hormones during 2nd to 5th month after conception
      • Area of hypothalamus that governs sexual behavior is twice as large in heterosexual males as in gay males
      • Most likely determined by a combination of genetic, hormonal, cognitive, and environmental factors

Sexuality

  • Attitudes and Behaviors of Lesbians and Gay Males:
    • Many gender differences that appear in heterosexual relationships occur in same-sex relationships
      • Lesbians have fewer sexual partners and less permissive attitudes about casual sex than gay men
    • Balancing the demands of two cultures (heterosexual and lesbian/gay male) can lead to more effective coping

Sexuality

  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): diseases contracted primarily through sex
    • Affect about 1 of every 6 U.S. adults
    • AIDS has had a greater impact than any other:
      • HIV destroys the body’s immune system
      • Leads to AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome)
      • U.S. deaths are declining
      • Greatest concern is in Africa
  • Strategies to Protect Yourself:
    • Knowing your and your partner’s risk status
    • Obtaining medical examinations
    • Having protected, not unprotected, sex
    • Not having sex with multiple partners

Sexuality

Forcible Sexual Behavior

  • Rape: forcible sexual intercourse without consent
    • Legal definitions vary from state to state
    • Victims are often reluctant to report the incident
    • Occurs most frequently in large cities
    • Victims are most often women, although rape of men does occur
    • Males in the U.S. are socialized to be sexually aggressive, to regard women as inferior, and to view their own pleasure as most important

Forcible Sexual Behavior

  • Characteristics of Male Rapists:
    • Aggression enhances their sense of power or masculinity
    • They are angry at women in general
    • They want to hurt and humiliate their victims
  • Rape is traumatic for victims and those close to them
    • Many experience depression, fear, anxiety, and increased substance use
    • 50% experience sexual dysfunctions
    • Recovery varies

Forcible Sexual Behavior

  • Date or Acquaintance Rape: coercive sexual activity directed at someone with whom the victim is at least casually acquainted
    • 2/3 of college freshmen report having been date-raped or having experienced an attempted date rape
  • Sexual Harassment: a manifestation of power of one person over another
    • Takes many forms
    • Can result in serious psychological consequences for the victim

Forcible Sexual Behavior

Cognitive Development

  • Piaget’s View:
    • Adolescents and adults think qualitatively in the same way (formal operational stage)
      • Young adults are more quantitatively advanced because they have more knowledge than adolescents
    • Some developmentalists theorize that individuals consolidate their formal operational thinking during adulthood
      • Many adults do not think in formal operational ways at all
  • Realistic and Pragmatic Thinking:
    • Some believe that as adults face the constraints of reality, their idealism decreases
    • Adults progress beyond adolescence in their use of intellect
      • Switch from acquiring knowledge to applying knowledge

Cognitive Development

  • Reflective and Relativistic Thinking:
    • Adults move away from absolutist, dualistic thinking in favor of reflective, relativistic thinking
    • Key aspects of cognitive development in emerging adulthood include:
      • Deciding on a particular world view
      • Recognizing that the world view is subjective
      • Understanding that diverse world views should be acknowledged

Cognitive Development

  • Some theorists have proposed a fifth cognitive stage: Postformal Thought
    • Involves understanding that the correct answer to a problem requires reflective thinking and can vary from one situation to another
      • The search for truth is often an ongoing, never-ending process
      • Solutions to problems need to be realistic
      • Emotion and subjective factors can influence thinking
  • Young adults are more likely to engage in this postformal thinking than adolescents are
  • Research has yet to document that postformal thought is a qualitatively more advanced stage than formal operational thought

Creativity

  • Early adulthood is a time of great creativity for some people
  • Creativity seems to peak in the 40s and then decline slightly
    • Decline depends on the field of creativity involved
  • Extensive individual variation in the lifetime output of creative individuals
  • Csikszentmihalyi and flow

Creativity

  • Steps Toward Cultivating Creativity:
    • Try to be surprised by something every day
    • Try to surprise at least one person every day
    • Write down each day what surprised you and how you surprised others
    • When something sparks your interest, follow it
    • Wake up in the morning with a specific goal to look forward to
    • Spend time in settings that stimulate your creativity

Careers and Work

  • From mid-twenties on, individuals often seek to establish their emerging career in a particular field
  • It is important to be knowledgeable about different fields and companies
  • Work creates a structure and rhythm to life and defines people in fundamental ways
  • 80% of U.S. undergraduate college students worked during the 1999-2000 academic year
    • Grades can suffer as number of hours worked per week increases

Careers and Work

Careers and Work

  • Unemployment:
    • Unemployment produces stress regardless of whether the job loss is temporary, cyclical, or permanent
      • Related to physical problems, mental problems, marital difficulties, and homicide
      • Stress comes from a loss of income and decreased self-esteem

Careers and Work

  • Dual-Earner Couples:
    • Sometimes difficult to find a balance between work and the rest of life
    • Recent research suggests that:
      • U.S. husbands are taking increased responsibility for maintaining the home
      • U.S. women are taking increased responsibility for breadwinning
      • U.S. men are showing greater interest in their families and parenting
  • Workplace is becoming increasingly diverse


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