Posted: December 4th, 2022
Early-Mid Adulthood: Physical, Cognitive, and Personality Development
Role Transitions Marking Adulthood
You assume new responsibilities and duties
E.g., graduation, marriage, becoming a parent
Ages vary; Historical variations are common
Life changes = stress (good or bad?)
What happens when you have multiple role transitions at once? It’s tough– even if they are all good things. We still need to adapt.
Psychological Views: Moving into Adulthood
Adulthood = more self-control, less reckless behavior
Erikson’s psychosocial theory (eight stages of man):
importance of developing independence and the capacity for intimacy
Intimacy vs. isolation- the search for close relationships, usually one close, intimate relationship that culminates in marriage
Issues in young adulthood
leading contributor to health problems
1st hand, 2nd, 3rd??
-Occasional drinking = good or bad?
-Binge drinking = good or bad?
indirect vs. direct effects
What happens to binge drinkers as they get into adulthood?
Types and frequency of troublesome behaviors following binge drinking. Note that all binge drinkers report more problems than non-binge drinkers.
Social, Gender, and Ethnic Issues in Health
Poverty = less likely to obtain adequate health care
People with better income as a result of education:
Less likely to be ill or die from chronic illness
Women live longer; fewer risky behaviors (young), use health services, cells may age slower than males
How Should We View Intelligence in Adults?
Which dimensions debate (e.g., Garder)
aspects improve while others decline during adulthood
Plasticity = ability to modify (and thus learn!), ‘heal’
What Happens to Intelligence in Adulthood?
Primary mental abilities include:
Number = basic math
Word fluency = ease of descriptions
Verbal meaning = vocab
Inductive reasoning = facts concepts (broader understanding)
Decline mostly not until 60 years old and more so as aging continues
Secondary Mental Abilities
Fluid intelligence = ability to be a flexible thinker
puzzles, mazes, relations among shapes
Declines through adulthood
Crystallized intelligence = knowledge acquired by life experience
historical facts, definitions, sports trivia.
Improves through adulthood
Going Beyond Formal Operations
Thinking in Adulthood: Piaget
adolescents and adults = formal operations stage
Postformal thought? Recognize that:
solutions must be realistic and that things are often not clear-cut
emotion integrated with logic in decision-making
individuals’ experiences differ and will therefore result in different ways of thinking about things
The Role of Stereotypes in Thinking
— stereotypes affect how we interpret new information (perception, thinking)
— beliefs that we may not be aware of, but may affect our behavior
Implicit Social Beliefs
What does “implicit” refer to?
How can we measure implicit beliefs?
Check out Harvard’s website and take an “implicit associations test” of your choice to help you understand this concept and for fun!
possible selves = what we could become, would like to become, and are afraid of becoming
What are YOUR possible selves?
In later life:
fewer possible selves
health as a feared self as adults age
What is it?
Does not appear to be modified by age beyond young adulthood
Influences how people interpret experiences
which, in turn, further shapes and defines their sense of identity
Personal Control Beliefs
Perceived control = ?
YOUR own idea of how much control you feel that you have in your own life, choices, based on biology and experiences
we often have more control than we think
we can change our thinking to improve this
differs from one area to another
Changes over the course of development not clear
What is the importance of personal (perceived) control?
beliefs seem to have a BIG influence on behavior and thinking
Higher perceived control, better health
Work and Leisure: Occupational and Lifestyle Issues in Young and Middle Adulthood
Reminders: Check and re-check the directions for your lesson and assignments to be sure that you are meeting requirements and completing assignments on time!
Occupational Selection & Development
How do people view work? How do occupational priorities vary with age?
How do people choose their occupations?
What factors influence occupational development?
What is the relation between job satisfaction and age?
The Meaning of Work
Most people work to make a living but also find meaning in their work
Research has found that people have four common ways in which personal fulfillment is derived from work
Developing and becoming self
Union with others
Holland’s Theory of Occupational Choice
People pursue careers that are a good fit between their abilities and interests
Six personality types that combine these factors: investigative, social, realistic, artistic, conventional, and enterprising
Holland’s theory does not tell us much about the differences among ethnic groups or the match with personality type and occupational choices in adulthood
How we advance within chosen occupations depends on many factors including
Support from coworkers
People progress along a continuum of vocational maturity through five stages
Occupational aspirations at age 16 in the U.K. predicted occupational attainments at 33
In the U.S., people change occupations several times during adulthood
Research by Levinson has shown that there are several major life tasks for adults
Developing a dream is one of these tasks
Changing interests and failure can be cause for changing the dream
Leaving school and learning about the real world is often a time of reality shock for young adults
The Role of Mentors and Coaches
More experienced workers often communicate the most critical kinds of information rather than formal training
Mentors help young workers avoid trouble and explain the unwritten rules of the job
Mentors often guide young workers and help to ensure that they are noticed and get credit from supervisors
Job satisfaction tends to increase with age
Probably because with advancing age, workers tend to select and stay with jobs that satisfy them and move on from work that is less satisfying
Middle-aged workers tend to be more satisfied with the intrinsic rewards of work than they are with extrinsic rewards such as pay
As workers get older, work may not be as much of a focus of their lives
People change how they go about their work and jobs, resulting in a cyclical pattern to job satisfaction
Caption: Whether someone actually leaves a job (turnover) is directly influenced by thoughts about withdrawing from one’s company (withdrawal cognitions) and by comparing alternative jobs (compared alternatives) which in turn are influenced by several other variables.
Caption: Super’s Occupational Stages During Adulthood
Alienation and Burnout
Alienation – the feeling that what a worker is doing is meaningless, no relationship between what they do and the end product
The personality trait of cynicism is the factor most related to alienation
To reduce alienation, stay involved in the decision-making, develop flexible work schedules, and provide employee development
Alienation and Burnout
Burnout – a depletion of a person’s energy and motivation
Results from stress, emotional exhaustion, and diminished personal accomplishment
Can be avoided by stress-reduction techniques, lowering people’s expectations of themselves, and enhancing communication with the organization
Gender, Ethnicity, and Discrimination Issues
How do women’s and men’s occupational expectations differ? How are people viewed when they enter occupations that are not traditional for their gender?
What factors are related to women’s occupational development?
What factors affect ethnic minority workers’ occupational experiences and occupational development?
What types of bias and discrimination hinder the occupational development of women and ethnic minority workers?
Gender Differences in Occupational Selection
Traditionally, boys have been trained to think about what work they will do and taught that men are known by the work that they do
Boys are taught that a part of masculinity is occupational achievement, and through games, that it is important to be a good follower and team player
Gender Differences in Occupational Selection
Traditionally, girls have not been taught to value these factors as much as those of being supportive, quiet, and accommodating
The increase in the participation of women’s athletic programs has been helpful in changing this difference
Traditional & Nontraditional Occupations
Women tend to select nontraditional occupations because of personal feelings, experiences, and expectations about the occupation
Women who have both brothers and sisters and attended single-sex high schools are most likely to choose nontraditional occupations
Traditional & Nontraditional Occupations
Women who rate high on tests of traditional measures of femininity choose more traditional occupations but may feel unchallenged
Women in nontraditional occupations are still often viewed negatively by peers of either sex
Traditional & Nontraditional Occupations
People often make assumptions about working conditions based on their perception of an occupation as traditionally masculine or feminine
People are less likely to recognize sexual harassment of a female when she works in a nontraditional occupation
Women & Occupational Development
Most important issues for women tend to be whether the work environment is supportive, lack of development opportunities, and organizational politics
Women & Occupational Development (Cont)
Women tend to leave their jobs for two reasons
Women may prefer to work interdependently with peers. Corporations that do not value this are negatively viewed
Women may feel disconnected from colleagues, clients, and coworkers, leaving them feeling alienated
Ethnicity and Occupational Development
While African American and European American women do not differ in their plans to enter nontraditional occupations, African American women are more likely to seek more formal training, becoming overqualified
African American and European American men are more likely to have higher vocational identity when they graduate from college versus European American women and Hispanic American men
Bias and Discrimination
Gender Bias and the Glass Ceiling
Only 5% of senior managers in the Fortune 500 are women
The glass ceiling is a term referring to the promotional level above which women may not go
Women are paid, on average, ¾ of what men are paid in the same positions. Larger gaps are observed for Hispanic and African American women
Caption: The gap between men’s and women’s average weekly wages have been closing slowly since the 1970s.
Reports suggest that as few as 5% of victims of sexual harassment report it
Studies have shown that as many as 40% of women have experience sexual harassment in the workplace
Research shows that harassment results in negative emotional, mental health, and job-related outcomes
Denying a job or promotion to an individual solely based on age is age discrimination
Federal law prohibits this practice for workers over the age of 40
Retirement incentives and stereotyped beliefs affecting job performance ratings are also common
Why do people change occupations?
Is worrying about potential job loss a major source of stress?
How does job loss affect the amount of stress experienced?
The reasons people leave their jobs are varied
Unhappy with the work
Pursuing additional training or education
Career plateauing occurs when there is a lack of opportunity or when a person decides not to seek advancement
The retraining of mid-career and older workers emphasizes the need for life-long learning
Economic conditions in the U.S. have resulted in many people losing jobs
Many people experience feelings of insecurity
People who worry about their jobs tend to have poorer mental health and negative attitudes about their employer
Negative attitudes may result even if the anxiety over the job is not based on fact
Coping With Unemployment
Unemployment often results in declines in physical health and self-esteem
Middle-aged men are more susceptible to the negative effects of unemployment
Unemployment rates are higher for ethnic minority groups than for European Americans. The stress involved affects all groups similarly
Coping With Unemployment
Approach job loss with a healthy sense of urgency
Consider next career move and what must be done to achieve it, even if there are no prospects for it at the present
Admit and react to change as soon as you realize it is there
Be cautious of stop-gap employment
Identify a realistic goal and list the steps needed to achieve it
Work and Family
What are the issues faced by people who care for dependents?
How do partners view the division of household chores? What is work-family conflict? How does it affect couples’ lives?
The Dependent Care Dilemma
Many mothers have to return to work after the birth of a baby
Some women struggle with the issue of returning to work, weighing financial need and the need to care for their children
Some women feel the need to return to work as a result of attachment to their work
Giving up work means a redefinition of one’s identity
65% of women caring for a parent or partner work at least 35 hours
The need to care for a parent or partner along with the lack of availability of affordable help forces many out of the workforce
Dependent Care and Effects of Workers
Women experience significant negative effects of being responsible for dependent care
When responsible for the care of a parent, women report more missed meetings and more absences from work. Higher levels of stress results
Stress is decreased by having partners who provide support and having a job that allows for control over one’s work schedule
Dependent Care and Employer Responses
Many governments provide government-supported child-care centers for employees
Providing child-care support is important, but positive impact is more often seen when supervisors are supportive and benefits that employees consider important are provided
Better job security, autonomy, lower productivity demands, supervisor support, and flexible schedules are helpful
Juggling Multiple Roles
Dividing Household Chores
Women still spend up to 50% more hours per week than men in family work
Unequal division of labor is the greatest source of arguments and unhappiness in two-earner households
While men have increased the amount of time spent on household chores, the greatest amount of the increase is on the weekends
Dividing Household Chores
Men are more satisfied with the division of household labor
Women are more satisfied when men take on tasks that are traditionally women’s chores
African American and Hispanic men spend more time on household chores than European American men
Across cultures studied, gender inequality was greatest for women employed full-time
Caption: Women spend much more time on household chores than men, even after the children have left (empty nest).
Work and family roles do not necessarily affect each other all of the time
Women are not as concerned about the amount of time men spend on household chores as when there are certain “women’s chores” that men will not perform
The division of household labor is often the result of people’s experience with their parents’ assignment of chores
Studies suggest that women often cope successfully with careers and family and the stress involved
The number of children, not the ages of the children, was found to be a significant factor in their success
Highest level of stress was during the peak parenting years when there were often at least two preschool children in the home
Dual-earner couples have difficulty finding time for each other
The amount of time is not necessarily the most important issue as long as they enjoy the time together and it is spent in shared activities
Cross-cultural data suggests that work and parenting-related burnout is more likely to affect women
Time to Relax: Leisure Activities
What activities are leisure activities? How do people choose among them?
What changes in leisure activities occur with age?
What do people derive from leisure activities?
Types of Leisure Activities
Leisure activities can be classified as
Other ways to distinguish between leisure activities
The degree of cognitive, emotional, or physical involvement
Developmental Changes in Leisure
Young adults participate in a greater range of activities
Middle-aged adults are more concerned with home- and family-oriented, less physically strenuous activities
There is a great deal of stability over developmental ages in leisure activities preferred
Consequences of Leisure Activities
Research shows that:
Participation is related to well-being
Leisure activities promote mental health
Leisure activities lessen the effects of stress and negative life events
They strengthen feelings of attachment to one’s partner, family, and friends
They may be used to explore interpersonal relationships
Leisure results in more marital satisfaction if spent with others rather than only as a couple
Middle and Late Adulthood
Allow time to have fun and do a great job on your assignments.
Middle adulthood = 35-60/65 years old
Late (older) adulthood = 65 years and older
Other terms given to subgroups in this span
60-80 = young-old
80-90 = older-old/old-old
90+ = oldest-old
What are significant changes that occur in middle adulthood? (your list should be long)
What are significant changes that occur in late adulthood? (your list should be longer!)
The non-traditional student
What is a “nontraditional” college student?
Why go (back) to college?
How is a returning adult student similar and in what ways are they different from traditional students?
Research: Higher stress in middle adulthood than late adulthood
What accounts for the higher level of stress experienced for middle-aged adults as compared to older adults?
What effects does stress have on the individual?
Research on health
High levels of hostility increase chance of all disease (e.g., *heart disease, cancer)
Type A personality = more hostility
Stress & resistance to disease
Direct effects: Psychophysiological illnesses
physiological effects of psychological states
Immune system suppression and illness
Prolonged stress hippocampus shrinks
What can be done to limit stress or deal with stress?
Erikson’s Eight Stages of Man
Erikson’s stages: Last stages
Generativity Versus Stagnation
Active involvement in raising children
About mid 20’s to mid 50’s
Generativity = extension of love into the future (productivity)
Kids, career… teaching, writing, invention, arts, sciences, social activism
Generativity Versus Stagnation
Stagnation = self-absorption, not contributing
Midlife crisis… What am I doing this for? What about me??
Integrity Versus Despair
About retirement/kids are gone (60+)
Life review and reflection… often and long on the events and experiences of their lifetime
Integrity = judge your life to have been meaningful and productive and feel good about choices made
Integrity Versus Despair
If one or more stages is not conquered…
Despair = sense of meaninglessness and blame others for their problems
Can become preoccupied with past and inability to change it
Well-Being and Social Cognition
Subjective well-being is a positive feeling about one’s life
Subjective well-being may be based on marital status, social network, chronic illness, and stress
Women may experience less subjective well-being
Religiosity and Spiritual Support
Religious faith/spirituality = important means by which older people cope with life
Spiritual support is involvement with organized and unorganized religious activities and pastoral care
Faith in God’s help is described by elders as distinguishing between what can and cannot be changed, doing what one can to change the things they can, and letting go of those things that cannot be changed
What Does Being Retired Mean?
Retirement = not always complete withdrawal from work
Bridge job = a job between ending of primary employment and final retirement
associated with overall life satisfaction
Marriage satisfaction and retirement?
For most people, the death of a spouse is among the most traumatic experiences they will have
More than half of all women over 65 are widows. Only 15% of men the same age are widowers
Friends & family may not visit or socialize as much with elders after the death of a spouse
Men are at a higher risk of dying, themselves, soon after the death of a spouse
Some researchers believe that a man’s wife is often his only close friend and confidant
There is evidence that older men are less likely to be able to carry out routine activities such as shopping and financial responsibilities
Women are usually less financially secure when widowed and are more likely to enter poverty status
Widowers are 5 times more likely to remarry than widows
Prevalence of Frailty
Less than 5% of adults aged 65 to 74 need assistance
Incidence of needing assistance increases dramatically thereafter
Older adults may also have higher rates of anxiety and depression
Living in Nursing Homes
Only about 5% of older adults live in nursing homes
About 50% of those who live beyond 85 will spend at least some time in a nursing home
New (current) issue: STDs!
What Characterizes a Good Nursing Home?
High quality of life for residents
Quality of care
Researchers suggest a “person-centered planning” approach to nursing home policies
This approach promotes residents’ well-being by increasing their feelings of personal control
Nursing home staff should avoid patronizing speech and infantilization (i.e., using first names when inappropriate, terms of endearment, etc.)
Elder Abuse and Neglect
There are several different categories of elder abuse
Emotional or psychological abuse
Financial or material exploitation
Estimates are that there were 551,000 people over the age of 60 abused or neglected in the U.S. in 1996
The most common types of abuse were:
Physical abuse- 16%
Financial or material exploitation- 12%
Characteristics of Elder Abuse Victims
People over the age of 80 are 2 to 3 times more likely to be abused than those under age 80
In 90% of the cases where the perpetrator of elder abuse is known, it was a family member, 2/3 of which were a spouse or adult child
Recently, telemarketing fraud has become a larger problem
Causes of Elder Abuse
Research fails to support the theories that stress alone, or that patterns of abuse transmitted across generations, cause abuse
Abuse is more likely to be caused by a combination of:
Intrapersonal problems of the caregiver
Interpersonal problems of the caregiver
Social characteristics of the care recipient
Politics, Social Security, and Medicare
As the number of older adults has increased, so has the quality of their everyday lives, partly as a result of increasing political power
In the ’50s, roughly 35% of older adults were below the poverty line compared to about 11% in the mid-1990s
Researchers predict that in the year 2030 the number of people over 65 will equal the number in other age groups…
What are the societal, economical, interpersonal, and physical and mental health implications?
Living longer: Currently, 50% of people over 65 have high school diplomas and 10% have college degrees. Research indicates that in 2030, 75% will have college degrees
How could this change the impact of the aging population on society (previous slide)?
Society’s view of aging/older adults
Look at pictures of older adults – walk slower down the hallway to leave experiment
Associate aging pictures and words with negative words and feelings
For aging adults—self-fulfilling prophesy?
Research on aging and perceived control…
Control over life by choosing new behaviors to meet their needs/desires = proactivity
When people allow the situation to dictate their options, they show docility
High competence = more proactivity
Health, disease, and life expectancy
The “sandwich generation”
Adult child/spouse and aging parent(s)… now, many adults are taking care of parents AND children
What concerns might you have as a member of the sandwich generation?
Major considerations for the sandwich generation
Change of role (parent-child), grandchild disruptions/generation gaps
Change of routine
Control/loss of control, freedom, and productivity
Medical care/care in general
What is depression?
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
Specific criteria (DSM-5, book of symptoms)
Why does depression occur in late adulthood and how can we help older adults?
Normal Memory/Cognitions vs. Dementia (This is great info for your Aging Assignment!)
How does memory normally change in adulthood? Late adulthood? (text info)
Check out this Alzheimer’s Association video that gives a great overview (8 min):
What is dementia and how is it different from Alzheimer’s? (You will use ALZ.org and your understanding here to complete your Dementia Assignment!)
Use this (fun) trivia format (run it as a slide show, from the tab up top!) to test yourself on your knowledge in this chapter. This is optional and not graded. Try to fill it in first– and then find the answers in your text.
The theory of assortative mating states that people find partners based on their _____Assortative mating________ to each other.
An ____________ relationship is one in which one partner becomes aggressive toward the other partner.
People tend to have more friends during the _________ adult period than at any other time in life.
Life satisfaction is strongly related to the quantity and quality of contacts with ______________.
Passion, intimacy, and commitment are the three basic components of ______.
Early in relationships, passion tends to be _______ and _________ and ___________ lower. This is called infatuation.
The kind of _______________ relationships an individual has as a child influences the kind of partner relationships formed as an adult.
Living with someone with whom one has a committed, intimate, sexual relationship is called ____________.
____% of women and ____% of men are single between the ages of 20 and 24.
Similarity of _________ and __________ is called homogamy.
According to the ___________ theory, marriage is based on each partner contributing something to the relationship that the other would be hard-pressed to provide.
Part-time or limited cohabitation is usually for _____________ and ______________. No long term _____________; marriage is not a goal.
Premarital cohabitation is usually a ___________________ and if it doesn’t end in marriage, the couple splits-up.
Substitute marriage is a long-term commitment without _______________ and is more common with older couples who may lose financial benefits if they marry.
Single ___________ have higher mortality rates and higher incidence of alcoholism, suicide, and mental health problems.
In the U.S., cohabitation before marriage often results in _________ happy marriages.
Women under the age of 20, at the time of their first marriage, are ____ times more likely to divorce than women who marry in their 20s and ____ times more likely than those in their 30s.
Teen marriages are more likely to end in divorce partly due to the need for the development of a strong sense of ____________ before intimacy.
Homogamy, or _________________________, __________ the chance of successful marriage.
Marriages are ________ successful when one partner contributes more to the relationship than the other.
Studies show that satisfaction with marriage is _________ in the beginning, _______ until children begin leaving home, and __________ again in later life.
Married couples who do not pool their financial resources ten to experience ________ satisfaction with their marriage.
Marital satisfaction ____________ shortly after retirement.
_________ educated couples experience greater dissatisfaction with their marriage.
The most important factor in good marriages is __________________.
Seven Keys to Staying Married:
1. Make ______ for your relationship
2. Express your ______ to your spouse
3. Be there in times of ______
4. _______________ about problems in the relationship
5. Be _____________ in your spouse’s life
6. ___________ in your spouse
7. ________ minor offenses, try to _____________ major ones
More than _____% of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned
Childless couples have ________ standard of living and ________ marital satisfaction, but may be viewed negatively by society.
Older parents are _______ at ease, spend ________ time with their babies, are _______ affectionate.
Men who become fathers in their 30s spend up to ____ times as much time caring for their preschool children.
__________ American husbands are more likely to help with household chores and child care than ___________ American husbands.
Reasons men give for divorce:
Reasons women give for divorce:
People with ______ preoccupation with the divorced spouse adjust better to single life.
Middle-aged individuals may have the ___________ difficult time after divorce.
Even many years after the divorce, men are ______ likely than women to have positive relationships with their adult children.
On average, men and women wait about _____ years before remarrying
Remarriages have _____% higher rate of divorce than original marriages
Remarriages involving stepchildren are ____ times more likely to end in divorce
Women are ______ likely to initiate a divorce, but are _____ likely to remarry
_________ is the most commonly reported cause of divorce.
The divorce rate for remarriages is _________ than the divorce rate for first marriages.
Are there any you couldn’t figure out?! Email me!
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