Lecture 9: physical, cognitive and psychosocial development in early adulthood Flashcards Preview

Developmental PSYC213 > Lecture 9: physical, cognitive and psychosocial development in early adulthood > Flashcards

Flashcards in Lecture 9: physical, cognitive and psychosocial development in early adulthood Deck (38):

Physical Functioning 

height and weight


age-related changes

Growth in height and weight

   • Secular trend

   • Full height achieved by mid-20s
   • Risk of weight gain from more sedentary lifestyle


   • Peaks in mid-30s, then slow decline

Age-related changes
   • Cardiovascular, respiratory, sensory 


Health in Early Adulthood 

Pathological aging

Health compromising behaviours

  • Pathological ageing
    • Caused by illness, abnormality, genetic factors,exposure to unhealthy environments
  • Health compromising behaviours
    • Can lead to illness e.g., smoking, alcohol, and drug abuse, unsafe sex, eating disorders
  • Important influence of an individual’s SES 


Alcohol and Drug Abuse 

  • 12-25yr-olds vulnerable to chemical dependency
    • Relates to changes in brain chemistry and neurocircuitry
  • Binge drinking a major problem
    • Health risks:
      •  Cancers, cirrhosis of the liver, stroke, heart disease, obesity
      • Road fatalities, injuries
      • Problem drinking, alcoholism 


Health Beliefs Model 

A image thumb

Unsafe Sex and Eating Disorders 

Unsafe sex
• HIV/AIDS, other STIs

Eating disorders
• Highest risk for females 18-25yrs

• High mortality rate
• Primarily a Western illness
• Focus is on early intervention and prevention 





Eustress (positive stress) vs. distress (negative stress)

  • Individual differences in stressors
  • Stress has direct effects on health
    • Physiological change
  • Indirect effects
    • Health-compromising behaviours
    • Personality 


General Adaptation Syndrome 

A image thumb

Experience of Stress 

Primary appraisal

Secondary appraisal

Primary appraisal

• Present harm

• Future damage
• Challenge to overcome and benefit

Secondary appraisal
• Assessment of coping resources

Stress reaction depends on controllability and predictability of stimulus 


Post-Formal Thought (Piaget)

Piaget’s formal operations stage

• Final stage of cognitive development

• Later researchers see limitations of Piaget’s stage theory

Post-formal thought
• Knowledge is relative, non-absolute

• Accept and synthesise contradictions

• Problem finding stage (Arnett, 2006) 

makes it easier to solve real-world problems


Adult cognition

A image thumb

Schaie: Contextual Thinking 

A image thumb

Adult Moral Reasoning 



Kohlberg’s stages:
• No social or emotional context

Gilligan’s stages:
• Survival orientation, conventional care, integrated care


Differences in moral reasoning arise from different experiences rather than sex differences

• Moral voice – includes class, context, and opportunity, not just sex 


Timing of Events Model 

Social clock: set of cultural norms or expectations for the times of life when certain important events should occur

  • On time: following the social timetable; events happen when expected
  • Off time: out of phase with peers; events happen earlier or later than expected

Timing of events theories:

  • Describe and explain patterns of behaviour
  • Explain diversity among groups
  • Cultural and generational differences reflect different expectations 


Erikson: Crisis Theory 

Crisis of intimacy vs. isolation

  • Crisis of intimacy vs. isolation
    • Need to establish close, committed relationships
  • For Erikson, the development of identity necessary for the development of intimacy
    • Resolution of this crisis results in virtue of “love”
  • Neurological and brain structural differences explain differences in achievement of intimacy
  • For Erikson, the avoidance of intimacy leads to isolation and self-absorption 


Vaillant: The Grant Study (1937)

3 conclusions

• Began in 1937, homogenous sample of 204 white males attending Harvard

• Women not included in the study
• Three conclusions about adult development:

  1. Development is lifelong
  2. Sustained relationships shape lives
  3. Adaptive mechanisms determine mental health 


Vaillant: Career Consolidation for Men 

• Career consolidation – an additional focus of development between 20-40yrs

• During this period, individual works hard and devotes themselves to career advancement

• Issues of generalisability
   • Participants typically middle class men

   • Underrepresentation of diversity 


Levinson: Stage Model 

  • Study based on 40 males 35-45yrs, four occupational subgroups
    • Blue collar workers, business executives, university biologists, novelists
  • Later included females
  • Studied through the biographical model
    • Interviews, individual observations, tests, follow up interviews after 2 years
  • Identified 3 eras or ‘seasons’ of male adult life 


Levinson’s Model 

A image thumb

Women’s Adult Development 

• Women go through same eras as males, but negotiate them differently

• “Gender splitting” creates differences

• Differences in the tasks of the era’s for men and women – dream, mentor, pursuit of the dream

• Age 30 transition:
   • Males re-evaluating careers
   • Females balancing work and family goals 


Relational-Cultural Theories of Women’s Development 

• Theories emerged from concerns about the focus on males

• Childhood socialisation leads to gender- differentiated personalities

   • “Typical” differences, not universal

   • Women tend to be relational, men autonomous
• Kinkeeping skills – essential to establishing and maintaining relationships
   • More highly developed in women 


Intimate Relationships: Friendships 

• Friendship increases with age

• Urban tribe, social convoy

• Provides well-being, self-esteem buffer against stress

• Encourages health-promoting and prosocial behaviours

• Online – social networks, dating sites

• Gender differences

   • Friendship styles 


Sternberg’s Definitions of Love 

A image thumb

Partner Selection 

• Cultural myths debunked by research - partners tend to be similar

     • Opposites DON’T attract!

• Likely to meet within their social networks

• Have seen an increase in use of online dating services

• Motivation for both on- and off-line partner seeking is to form a committed relationship 



Marriage styles

• Still most likely choice for adult partnerships

• Age at first marriage is increasing
• Choice based on love: individualistic cultures

• Marriage styles

   • Equal-partner (or near-equal)

   • Conventional
   • Junior-partner

• Same-sex partnerships more likely to achieve equality 


Marital Satisfaction 

• Negative impact of parenting

• Psycho-educational interventions

• Satisfaction relates to:
   • Equal partnerships, shared roles

   • Communication and negotiation

   • Marriage predictor of well-being

• Happiness higher when divorce is available 


Factors in Marital Success or Failure 

Previti and Amato (2003)

• Previti and Amato (2003): Longitudinal study of 2,034 people showed the way people describe their marriage indicates the likelihood of its success or failure

• Asked what held their marriage together...

• Those who focused on rewards, such as love, respect, trust, communication, compatibility, and commitment, were more likely to be in a happy marriage 14 years later

• Those who described barriers to leaving the marriage, such as children, religious beliefs, financial interdependence, and commitment to the institution of marriage, were less likely to be married and happy with it 14 years later 


Factors in Marital Success or Failure 

• Partners’ happiness with the relationship

• Sensitivity to each other
• Validation of each other’s feelings
• Communication

• Conflict management skills 



• Australian divorce rate – 46%; NZ – 47%

• Factors influencing divorce:

• Legislative changes
• Personality (happiness)
• Demographic variables
• Lack of consensus re: role-allocation
• Less expectation of life-long relationship 


Adjusting to Divorce 

• Divorce tends to reduce long-term wellbeing

   • Men: Negative effects on health

• Disruption of parent-child relationships

• Loss of emotional support

• Discord with former spouse

• Economic hardship

    • Women more likely to live in poverty post- divorce 



• More than half of divorced adults remarry

• Remarriage quality relates to:

   • Background/contextual factors

   • Couple interactional processes

   • Attributes of the person 


Other Lifestyles: Singlehood 

• Prediction: 27% of men and 23% of women aged 15-20 in Australia will not be married by age 50 


Other Lifestyles: Gay and Lesbian 

Differences between gay/lesbian and heterosexual relationships

• About 40-60% of gay men and 45-80% of lesbians are in romantic relationships

• Differences between gay/lesbian and heterosexual relationships:

    • More likely to negotiate household chores
    • Resolve conflicts in a more positive atmosphere

    • Less stable due to lack of institutional support 


Other Lifestyles: Cohabitation/De Facto Relationships 

Unmarried couples who are involved in a sexual relationship and live together

• Wide international variation:
    • More than 83% of French women live in a de facto relationship before age 45 years

   • Less than 5% of Polish women do so 


Marital Satisfaction in New Families 

  • Marital satisfaction typically declines after birth of first child
  • Those least satisfied prior to the birth most likely to report later decline
  • Babies do not create stress, but do not bring couples together
  • Husband’s participation in care roles improves satisfaction for both parents – expectations a key issue 


Single Parenthood


  • Increase in single parents due to
    •  More divorce, delayed marriage, changing social values
  • 22% of Australian families; 24% of NZ families (85% headed by females)
  • Often financially disadvantaged
    • More than half rely on pensions
    • Indigenous people are over-represented
  • Welfare reform focus on welfare-to-work 


Successful Single Parenting 

• Recognise and accept challenges
• Prioritise parenting role
• Discipline consistently, non-punitively

• Encourage open communication
• Foster individuality within family
• Recognise own self-nurturance needs

• Maintain family rituals and traditions

(Olson & Hayes, 1993) 


Stepfamilies and Blended Families 

• Remarriage families most likely to experience within-family problems

• Complex relationships

• Children’s relationships

   • Generally positive, but more positive between half- siblings and siblings than between stepsiblings (especially cross-sex)

• Adults generally have more difficulty adapting to blended or stepfamilies 


Child Free 

early articulators


• Childlessness increasing
   • Women more accepting of childless role than men

• Social price
   • Perceptions of being viewed negatively

   • Relatives more negative than friends
   • Perceived as more harsh by women

• Veevers (1980): Early articulators (i.e., knew they didn’t want children from childhood) and postponers (i.e., less definite about whether they want children)