5-15 & 5-17 Chapter 10 Becoming an Adult: Physical, Cognitive, and Personality Development Role Transitions Marking Adulthood Role transitions in Western cultures Individuals assume new responsibilities and duties, (e.g., completing an education, marriage, and becoming a parent) These transitions vary as to the age at which they occur. Historical variations are common Cross-Cultural Evidence of Role Transitions Marriage is the most common non-Western transition that marks adulthood Non-Western cultures often have specific criteria for boys? transition to adulthood. These usually include aspects of being able to provide, protect, and impregnate Menarche is the most common marker for adulthood in girls Role Transitions Marking Adulthood Rites of passage are rituals that mark initiation into adulthood Rites may last minutes, hours, or days Tribal rituals may include pain or mutilation Certain ethnic groups rely on formal rites such as bar mitzvahs Going to College Traditionally, people think of the ages of 18 through 25 as the college years The actual average age of college students in the U.S. is 29 (!) Students over the age of 25 are called returning adult students Returning students are often more highly motivated and study more than traditional students Psychological Views Adulthood usually brings more self-control and a drop in reckless behavior Erikson?s theory points out the importance of developing independence and the capacity for intimacy Establishing Intimacy Erikson?s stage of intimacy vs. isolation is the psychosocial challenge of young adulthood Identity development is critical for being able to achieve intimacy Research shows that some women resolve intimacy issues after their children have grown and moved away So When Do People Become Adults? The ages between 18 and 25 are often considered a distinct life stage, sometimes called thresholders Individuals of this age group are often not adults in every sense, but are no longer adolescents 50% of college students expect to live with their parents again Growth, Strength, and Physical Functioning Height reaches its greatest during young adulthood and is stable until old age Physical strength in both sexes peaks in the late 20s and early 30s While visual acuity remains stable through middle age, hearing begins to decline in the late 20s Health Status 90% of young adults say their health is good or better Accidents, followed by cancer, cardiovascular disease, suicide, and AIDS are the leading causes of death in the U.S. between the ages of 24 and 44 Lifestyle Factors Smoking Smoking is the leading contributor to health problems Nicotine is a known potent teratogen Quitting smoking is usually beneficial, regardless of how or when it happens Drinking Alcohol Occasional drinking has not been shown to be a serious contributor to health problems Binge drinking is consuming 5 or more drinks in a row for men and 4 or more for women Binge drinking has been shown to be a major health concern, especially among college students Nutrition Experts agree that nutrition affects mental, emotional, and physical functioning Metabolism, or how much energy the body needs, affects all areas Obesity is a factor in health problems Body mass index (BMI) is a ratio of body weight and height, and is recommended to be less than 25 Social, Gender, and Ethnic Issues in Health Social Factors People in poverty are less likely to obtain adequate health care and are more often in poor health People with better income as a result of education are less likely to be ill and less likely to die from chronic illness Gender Women live longer than men and use health services more often Ethnic Group Differences In the U.S. the residents of inner-city neighborhoods have the poorest health conditions Hospitals African American men in large urban areas have lower life expectancy Poverty plays a major role Racism may play a role How Should We View Intelligence in Adults? Most theories are multidimensional, though there is little agreement as to what the dimensions are Adults? intelligence is multidirectional Abilities show plasticity in that they may be modified during any point in adulthood, under the right conditions Secondary Mental Abilities Fluid intelligence is the ability to be a flexible thinker Used in puzzles, mazes, and relations among shapes. Declines throughout adulthood Crystallized intelligence is knowledge acquired by life experience The ability to remember historical facts, definitions, and sports trivia. This improves throughout adulthood Going Beyond Formal Operations Thinking in Adulthood Piaget?s theory placed adolescents and adults in the formal operations stage Other researchers have found differences in how adolescents and adults process information Postformal Thought A proposed adult stage of cognitive development Following Piaget?s fourth, a stage that goes beyond adolescent thinking by being more practical, more flexible, and more dialectical More capable of combining contradictory elements into a comprehensive whole The Role of Stereotypes in Thinking Stereotypes are examples of how social knowledge structures and social beliefs can shape our thinking and perceptions Stereotypes affect how we interpret new information Implicit stereotypes are beliefs that we may not be aware of, but may affect our behavior Stereotype threat is the fear of being judged by a negative stereotype about a group to which one belongs Implicit Social Beliefs We may be able to determine the importance of age-related social belief if we examine: The content of the beliefs The strength of these beliefs The likelihood that these beliefs will be activated automatically when they are questioned or violated Implicit Association Test Creating Scenarios and Life Stories Young adults create a life-span construct, or view of the past, present, and future The construct is manifested in a scenario, or expectations about the future The social clock is the expectation that future events will correspond to a certain age or date We construct a life story as we begin to achieve some of the goals of our scenario. The story ties events together in a coherent sequence Possible Selves Young adults tend to think of possible selves, or what we could become, would like to become, and are afraid of becoming In later life the possible selves are projected into fewer domains Health takes on more importance as a feared self as adults age Self-Concept Self-concept is a result of integrating the scenario or life story into a sense of self In longitudinal studies, this self-concept did not appear to be modified by age beyond young adulthood Self-concept influences how people interpret experiences which, in turn, further shapes and defines their sense of identity Personal Control Beliefs Personal control beliefs reflect the degree to which one believes that their performance depends on something they do These beliefs seem to have a great influence on our behavior
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