Early Adulthood: Physical and Cognitive Development

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Transcript Early Adulthood: Physical and Cognitive Development

CHAPTER 13 Early Adulthood: Physical and Cognitive Development

Emerging Adulthood

Emerging Adulthood

• Emerging adulthood – Distinct period of development that is found in societies that allow young people an extended opportunity to explore their roles in life – These societies tend to be affluent; parents or government help with higher education – However, some people cannot gain the necessary supports to successfully travel into emerging adulthood – Adults in this stage report maturity in some areas but not in others.

Physical Development

Physical Development

• Physical development peaks in early adulthood. – (20 ’ s and early 30 ’ s) then declines • Sensory sharpness peaks in early 20 ’ s and then begins gradual decline in middle adulthood • Visual acuity remains good until middle adulthood.

– Decline leads to farsightedness and a need for reading glasses • Hearing decline beginning in late 20 ’ s/early 30 ’ s

Physical Development (cont


• Changes in cardiovascular, respiratory, and immune systems gradually begin to decline.

– Regular exercise can increase cardiovascular and respiratory capacity. – As people age, the immune system produces fewer white blood cells and the disease-fighting ability of those that remain declines.

Physical Development (cont


• Fertility decreases as both sexes age.

Women – After age 35, pregnant women are checked for Down syndrome and chromosomal abnormalities.

– Number of eggs in women are reduced and the quality is not as good – May still have healthy children into their 40 ’ s Men – Older men may contribute to infertility as well.

Physical Development (cont


• Both sexes may be graying and losing hair by end of early adulthood – Due to heredity, men may bald by mid 20 ’ s.

• Skin may begin to loosen, grow less elastic, and wrinkle – More so in women than in men

Health and Fitness

Health and Fitness

• Young adults tend to have healthy immune systems.

• Accidents most prominent reason for early death – Further declines among 25- to 44-year-olds • Homicide accounts for 13.9% of deaths of 25- to 44 year-old men.

– Does not decline until 40 to 65 years of age • Cancer and heart disease kill a much larger percentage of people aged 25 to 44 than aged 15 to 24, but they take second and third place behind accidents • HIV/AIDS becomes leading cause of death among 25 to 44-year-olds

Health and Fitness (cont


• Many young adults do not take care of health and put it on “ back burner ” – 78% of young adults eat less fruits and vegetables than recommended – 43% engage in no physical activity – 29% are smokers – 30% engage in binge drinking – 26% are overweight – 14% are obese (McCracken et al., 2007)

Diet and Weight

• Females more likely than males to report dieting • Being overweight runs in families.

– Strong heredity role • Adaptive thermogenesis may sabotage weight loss efforts.

• Psychological factors – Observational learning, stress, and emotional states contribute to obesity.

Fig. 13-2, p. 270


• Adults 18+ need 30 minutes of physical activity five or more days a week.

– Breaking exercise into smaller segments is beneficial • Reduces risk of developing or dying from – cardiovascular disease – type 2 diabetes – certain cancers such as colon • Exercise helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevents or retards osteoporosis and arthritis, and reduces obesity.

– Benefits brain function and helps with some mental disorders • Integrating exercise into daily routine best way

Substance Abuse and Dependence

• Substance abuse – Ongoing use of a substance despite the social, occupational, psychological, or physical problems it causes (APA, 2000) • Substance dependence – Having the substance in the body becomes a norm • Tolerance – Body becomes habituated to a certain amount and needs more to achieve same effect • Abstinence syndrome – Withdrawal symptoms when dosage is lowered

Effects of Depressants

• Depressants slow the nervous system.

– Include alcohol, narcotics derived from the opium poppy (heroine, morphine, and codeine), and sedatives (barbiturates and methaqualone) • Alcohol effects – Lowers inhibitions – Binge drinking associated with bad grades and risky behavior such as unprotected sex, acts of aggression – Distorts perceptions, impairs concentration • Alcohol use most prevalent among 21- to 34-year-olds – Over 2 million college students a year drive under the influence of alcohol.

– More than one million between the ages of 18 to 24 are accidentally injured while under the influence.

Effects of Depressants (cont


• Barbiturates are addictive. – In part due to their legitimate medical uses • They are abused due to – relaxing effects – mild euphoric effects

Effects of Stimulants

• Stimulants increase central nervous system activity – Nicotine, cocaine, and amphetamines most common • Nicotine – Addictive chemical in tobacco • 450,000 Americans die from smoking-related problems each year. • Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide. • Shortness of breath • Hydrocarbons that cause respiratory diseases and lung cancer

Effects of Stimulants (cont


• Cocaine produces feelings of euphoria, relieves pain, boosts self-confidence, reduces the appetite • Cocaine – accelerates heart rate – spikes the blood pressure – constricts arteries of heart – thickens blood – can cause cardiovascular and respiratory collapse • Cocaine overdoses can causes restlessness, insomnia, tremors, and death.

Effects of Stimulants (cont


• Tolerance for amphetamines develops quickly.

• Methamphetamine may be physically addictive.

– High doses can cause restlessness and insomnia, irritability, and loss of appetite • Methamphetamine abuse can cause brain damage, leading to problems with learning and memory.

– Smoking or injecting it can be associated with violent behavior

Effects of Hallucinogenics

• Hallucinogenics contribute to perceptual distortions called hallucinations.

• Marijuana, Ecstasy, LSD, and PCP are hallucinogenics.

• Marijuana – can be smoked or eaten – helps users to relax and elevates their mood – provides greater sensory awareness, self-insight, creativity, and empathy for others – increases attunement to bodily sensations – visual hallucinations as in time slowing down occurs – strong intoxication frightens some smokers

Effects of Hallucinogenics (cont


• Marijuana health risks – Impaired perceptual-motor coordination, short-term memory, and slows learning – Regular users may experience withdrawal, which is a sign of addiction • Ecstasy (MDMA) – Popular party drug; chemical formula similar to amphetamines – Boosts self-confidence; alertness and elation increased – Mild hallucinogenic – Decreases inhibitions, which can result in risky behavior such as unprotected sex – Impairs working memory, increases anxiety, and can lead to depression

Effects of Hallucinogenics (cont


• LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide)

– Hallucinogenic drug – Can impair coordination and judgment, change mood, and cause hallucinations and paranoid delusions

Stress and Health

• One-third of Americans report living with “ extreme stress ” . (APA, 2012) • Stress negatively affects – psychological and physical health – social, academic, and vocational lives • Younger adults respond to stress in unhealthy ways.

– Skipping meals, lying awake at night, smoking more when stressed

Stress Management Tips

• Get in touch with the ways you experience stress • Identify stressors such as people and situations.

• Get in touch with the way you handle or don ’ t handle stress.

• Work on creating better ways to cope with stress.

• Take care of your health.

• Obtain social support



• Sexual activity peaks in early 20 ’ s • Sexual frequency may be due to surge of hormones and opportunity.

• Men and women are still experiencing the flood of sex hormones that affected them as adolescents

Fig. 13-5, p. 275

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

• Chlamydia

– Most commonly occurring STI in young adults followed by gonorrhea, genital warts, genital herpes, syphilis, and HIV/AIDS

• 2.8 million new Chlamydia infections occur each year.

– Major cause of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which oftentimes leads to sterility

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) (cont


• Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) – Major cause of genital warts and associated with cervical cancer – 6 million new cases of HPV each year in the U.S.

– Estimated that 50% of men and women contract HPV at some time in their lives – A vaccine is available that prevents most young women from being infected • Genital warts not visible on the cervix in women or in the urethra in men • Greatest risk – Women initiating sex prior to age 18 and engaging with multiple partners

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) (cont



– Most devastating STI – If left untreated, is lethal; long-term prospects of those who do receive treatment unknown – 33 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS • 2.5 million are children under the age of 15 – Risk factors • Anal intercourse • Injecting drugs by sharing needles • Multiple sex partners • Failing to use condoms • Abusing drugs and alcohol

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) (cont


• Women in U.S. less affected by HIV/AIDS, but in other parts of the world, are more likely to be infected • European, African, and Southeast Asian sexually active teenage girls have higher rates of HIV infection than older women or young men

Table 13-2, p. 276

Menstrual Problems

• 50 to 75% of women experience discomfort prior to or during menstruation.

• Dysmenorrhea – Pelvic cramps – May be brought on by hormones called prostaglandins – Fluid retention in the pelvic region may cause bloating • Amenorrhea – Absence of menstruation and a sign of infertility – Symptom of anorexia nervosa and extreme exercise • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) – Combination of biological and psychological symptoms affecting women during the four- to six-day interval preceding menstruation

Menstrual Problems (cont


• Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) – More severe than PMS; a technical term used by American Psychiatric Association • Premenstrual symptoms include – psychological discomfort, muscular tension, aches, or pains; cause of PMS may be due to body ’ s responses to changing levels of estrogen and progesterone; linked with imbalances in neurotransmitters such as serotonin and GABA • Treatment includes – exercise, dietary control, vitamin supplements, hormone treatments, and medications that reduce anxiety or increase the activity of serotonin

Rape: The Most Intimate Crime of Violence

• Rape is defined as – sex with a nonconsenting person by the use of force or the threat of force • Women aged 16 to 24 – 2 to 3 times more likely to be raped than girls or older women • Most states permit prosecution of husbands who rape their wives • Statistics – 1 in 4 U.S. women are raped during lifetime – 188,000 women assaulted in 2010 – 10% of rape victims are men whose assailants are generally men – 2/3 of rapes not reported

Types of Rape

• Acquaintance rape – 90% of rapes committed by acquaintances of the victim – Includes classmates, coworkers, dates, or family friends – Less likely to be reported to the police – Misunderstood type of rape; may be passed off as lover ’ s quarrel • Date rape – More likely to occur when there has been too much to drink and then the couple parks in the male ’ s car or the female goes to his residence

Social Attitudes, Myths, and Cultural Factors that Encourage Rape

• Some attitudes toward rape consist of – the beliefs that a woman wants a forceful and pushy man – the way a woman dresses encourages rape – women want to be overpowered and forced into sex by men • Society pushes males into socially and sexually dominant roles by reinforcing males as children for aggressive and competitive behavior as well as ostracizing them for “ feminine ” traits such as tenderness and empathy, which might restrain aggression

Sexual Harassment

• In the workplace, defined as deliberate or repeated unwanted comments, gestures, or physical contact • Make the workplace a hostile environment • Sexual harassment includes – sexual jokes, overtures, suggestive comments, verbal abuse, leering at or ogling a person ’ s body, unwelcome physical contact, outright sexual assault • Includes demands for sex accompanied by threats about one ’ s job or student status

Sexual Harassment (cont


• Sexual harassment oftentimes ignored – The victim may suffer from anxiety, irritability, lower self-esteem, and anger.

– Some resign from their jobs due to the harassment.

• Some harassers maintain the victim took them too seriously.

• Has to do with abuse of power more than sexual desire – Especially true in “ male ” fields • Employers are accountable if harassment creates a hostile or abusive work environment or interferes with an employee ’ s work performance.

Cognitive Development

Cognitive Development

• People at height of cognitive ability during early adulthood • Improvements – People retain verbal skills and may improve vocabulary and general knowledge as they age – Crystallized intelligence increases with age • Declines – Memory shows great decline as we age – Problem-solving speed and visual-spatial skills decline as we age.

– Fluid intelligence more likely to decrease with age

Cognition Across Age Groups and Gender

• Young adults more focused in their use of scientific expertise than adolescents are • Late adolescents are likely to have the broadest general knowledge of the sciences, whereas young adults who continue in the sciences will need to narrow their focus.

• Academic gaps between males and females are smaller.


s Theory of Epistemic Cognition

• Epistemic cognition – Concerns our ideas about how we arrive at our beliefs, facts, and ideas • College students ’ views on what and how they know something becomes more complex as they are exposed to the challenges of college thought.

• College exposure consists of learning material, but also learning different cultures and backgrounds as well as different views taught by professors.

• Students move from dualistic thinking to a more relativistic thinking to commitment as they mature.


s Theory of Pragmatic Thought

• Pragmatic thought – Adults must narrow possibilities into choices (Labouvie-Vief, 2006) • Cognitively healthy adult is more willing to compromise and cope with the world as it is • Cognitive-affective complexity – The harboring of both positive and negative feelings about career choices, partners (Labouvie-Vief, 2006) – Adults function best when they can accept reality but choose goals that allow positive feelings.

Postformal Thinking

• Young adults are less egocentric than adolescents.

• Young adults more relativistic but ideally capable of making commitments in their relativistic world • Young adults maintain most of the benefits of their general secondary education; if gone on to higher education, they have gained specialized skills • No scientific agreement if there is a stage past Piaget ’ s formal operations

College and Cognitive Development

• Postformal thought involves the recognition that some problems are too complex to have simple answers and that people make judgments based on their own assumptions and values.

• Community colleges and four-year institutions encourage broadening experiences in this cognitive domain.

The Diverse Culture of College

• Diversity refers to the differences we find between groups of people.

– Ethnic and cultural diversity, socioeconomic level, gender, age, and sexual orientation • College experience includes meeting people who are different from one ’ s self • College will challenge formerly held beliefs as well as spur cognitive growth.

The Diverse Culture of College (cont


• Ways to benefit from diversity on your campus

- Recognize your way of looking at the world is not universal - Embrace opportunities to meet different people - Your initial reaction to a new culture may be defensive - Understand what makes others ’ traits valuable to them - Listen to others ’ descriptions and concerns - Immerse yourself in a different culture - Commit to understand a given situation from a different point of view

Career Development

Choosing a Career

• Particular occupation may not be chosen until college years or after • Most career choices based on experiences and personalities – Some follow respected members of the community – Some young adults postpone career decisions until after college • Many young adults “ fall into ” careers due to what is available at the time, family pressures, or the lure of high income or a particular lifestyle.

Career Development

• Work provides extrinsic and intrinsic motives.

• Extrinsic motives – Paycheck, fringe benefits, security • Intrinsic motives – Opportunity to engage in stimulating and satisfying activities – Includes work ethic, self-identity, self-fulfillment, self-worth, socialization, and public roles • More women quit their careers due to intrinsic motives.


s Stages of Career Development

• Fantasy stage – Involves child ’ s unrealistic conception of self-potential and of the world of work – Dominates until age 11 • Tentative choice stage – From age 11 to 17, focus is on some realistic self-assessment and knowledge of occupations – Based on interests, abilities, limitations, and glamour • Realistic choice stage – Choices become narrow after age 17 as student weighs job requirements and rewards against interests, abilities, and values


s Stages of Career Development (cont


• Maintenance stage – Person settles into career role, which normally occurs in the second half of our 30s – Career continues to develop, and there is a feeling of moving forward – Job hopping more necessary due to corporate downsizing, mergers, and acquisitions – Return to school for different training; may need to occur out of necessity as well as interest • Retirement stage – Individual severs bonds with the workplace; retirees often undertake second or third careers

Developmental Tasks in a Beginning Career

• Career challenges may include – learning how to carry out the job tasks – accepting your subordinate status within the organization or profession – learning how to get along with coworkers and supervisor – showing that you can maintain the job, make improvements, and show progress – finding a sponsor or mentor – defining the boundaries between the job and other areas of life – evaluating your choice in the light of supervisor appraisal – measurable outcomes – learning to cope with the daily stressors