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Chapter 13
PS3313

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CHAPTER 13

YOUNG ADULTHOOD

(Age 23   through   35 or 40)

 

PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT

 

IN WHAT PHYSICAL CONDITION IS THE TYPICAL YOUNG ADULT?

 

Young Adults typically are at the peak of health, strength, energy and endurance

 

The average young adult is in good condition physically and sensory abilities are usually excellent.

 

Accidents are the leading cause of death for 20 – 34 year olds, followed by homicide, suicide, heart disease, and AIDS.

 

Lifestyle factors, such as, diet, obesity, exercise, smoking, and substance use or abuse can affect health.

 

Alcoholism is a major problem.

 

Good health tends to be related to higher income and education.

 

Women tend to live longer than men, in part for biological reasons, but perhaps also because they are more health conscious. (Some guys take issue with this assertion that women are more health conscious, what’s your thoughts?)

 

Social relationships, especially marriage tends to foster physical health.  (Why?)

 

BEHAVIORAL INFLUENCES ON HEALTH AND FITNESS

 

Good health is not just luck.  People can seek health by pursuing certain activities and refraining from others.

 

A longitudinal study of 7,000 adults ages 20 to 70, health was directly related to several common habits:

 

Eating regular meals, including breakfast, and not snacking

Exercising moderately

Sleeping regularly seven to eight hours nightly

Not smoking

Drinking moderately

 

After ten or more years, people who did not follow these health habits were twice as likely to be disabled as people who followed most or all of them (Breslow & Breslow, 1993).

 

INDIRECT INFLUENCES ON HEALTH AND FITNESS

 

Apart from the things people do, or refrain from doing, which affects their health directly, there are indirect influences on health.  Among the most important are income, education, race/ethnicity, and gender.

Income….Higher income people rate their health as better and live longer than lower income people.

 

Education.. The less schooling people have had, the greater the chance that they will develop and die from communicable diseases, injuries, or chronic ailments such as heart disease, or that they will become victims of homicide or suicide (Pamuk, Makuc, Heck, Reuben, & Lochner, 1998).

 

Race/ethnicity… Although African Americans smoke less than white Americans, they metabolize more nicotine in the blood, are more subject to lung cancer, and have more trouble breaking the habit.  Possible reasons may be genetic, biological or behavioral.

 

Gender:  Which sex is healthier, women or men?  It’s difficult to decide because until recently women were excluded from many important studies of health problems.  We do know that women have a higher life expectancy than men and a lower death rate throughout life.

 

 

SEXUAL ISSUES

 

 

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), Sexually transmitted disease (STDs), and Infertility are all concerns of young adulthood.

 

 

The AIDS epidemic is coming under control in the United States, but heterosexual transmission has increased, particularly among minority women.

 

Syphilis has become less prevalent, however, other diseases such as gonorrhea and genital herpes, are on the rise.

 

Not surprisingly, the highest rate for most STDs are among adolescents and young adults, the age group most likely to engage in risky sexual activity.

 

Infertility (Inability to conceive after 12 to 18 months of trying) is a growing concern among young adults.  Low sperm count is the most common cause of infertility in men and blockage of the fallopian tube in women.

 

Sexual dysfunction (persistent disturbance in sexual desire or sexual response) is especially common among young women.

 

 

COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT

 

 

Common sense tells us that adults think differently from children or adolescents.   Why or How?

 

 

Mature thinking relies on subjective experience and intuition as well as logic which is useful in dealing with ambiguity, uncertainty, and inconsistency.

Some researchers such as Jan Sinnott and K.Warner Schaie, suggest a stage approach in Cognitive Development.  Other investigators such as Robert Sternberg focus on intelligence.  One current theory highlights the role of emotion in intelligent behavior.

I particularly like Schaie’s Life Span Model of Cognitive Development which revolve around the thought that we develop cognitive intelligence in stages of our life.

 

During these stages an individual may shift from acquisition of information and skills (what I need to know) to practical intelligence of knowledge and skills (how to use what I know) to a search for meaning and purpose (why I should know).

 

Schaie’s seven stage Life Span Model include the following:

 

Acquisitive stage (children and adolescence) Children and adolescents acquire information and skills mainly for their own sake or as preparation for participation in society.

 

Achieving stage (late teens or early twenties to early thirties) Young adults no longer acquire knowledge merely for its own sake; they use what they know to pursue goals, such as career and family.

 

Responsible stage (late thirties to early sixties) Middle aged people use their minds to solve practical problems associated with responsibilities to others, such as family members or employees.   

Executive stage (thirties or forties through middle age)  People in the executive stage, which may overlap with the achieving and responsible stages, are responsible for societal systems  (such as governmental or business organizations) or social movements.  They deal with complex relationships on multiple levels.

 

Re-organizational stage (end of middle age, beginning of late adulthood).  People who enter retirement reorganize their lives and intellectual energies around meaningful pursuits that take the place of paid work.

 

Re-integrative stage (late adulthood) Older adults, who may have let go of some social involvement and whose cognitive functioning may be limited by biological changes, are often more selective about what tasks they expend effort on.  They focus on the purpose of what they do and concentrate on tasks that have the most meaning for them.

 

Legacy creating stage (advanced old age) Near the end of life, once reintegration has been completed, older people may create instructions for the disposition of prized possessions, make funeral arrangements, provide oral

histories, or write their life stories as a legacy for their loved ones.  All of these tasks involve the exercise of cognitive competencies within a social and emotional context.

 

It should be remembered that not everyone goes through all the stages within the suggested time frames.

 

 

 

 

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