db6 and DB 7

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ESSENTIALS OF LIFE-SPAN DEVELOPMENT, 5e

JOHN W. SANTROCK
Physical and Cognitive Development in Early Adulthood
11

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Chapter Outline
The transition from adolescence to adulthood
Physical development
Sexuality
Cognitive development
Careers and work

*

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The Transition From Adolescence to Adulthood
Emerging adulthood: Transition from adolescence to adulthood
Occurs from approximately 18 to 25 years of age
Characterized by experimentation and exploration
Appears in cultures where assuming adult roles and responsibilities is postponed
Key features
Identity exploration, especially in love and work
Instability, self-focused, and feeling in-between
Age of possibilities, in which individuals have an opportunity to transform their lives

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The Transition From Adolescence to Adulthood
Markers of becoming an adult
Holding a full-time job
Economic independence
Taking responsibility for oneself
Transition from high school to college
Top-dog phenomenon
Movement to a larger, more impersonal school structure
Increased focus on achievement and assessment
Interaction with more diverse set of peers

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Physical Development
Physical performance and development
Peak physical performance typically occurs between 19 and 26
Muscle tone and strength usually begin to show signs of decline around age 30
Lessening of physical abilities in 30s
Body’s fatty tissue increases in mid- to late 20s

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Figure 11.1 – Mortality Rates of U.S. Adolescents and Emerging Adults

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Physical Development
Health
Emerging adults have more than twice the mortality rate of adolescents
Few chronic health problems
Increase in bad health habits, inadequate sleep
70% of college students do not get adequate sleep
50% report daytime sleepiness
Eating and weight
Obesity – Linked to increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mental health problems
Exercise
Aerobic exercise: Sustained exercise that stimulates heart and lungs
Exercise benefits both physical and mental health

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Figure 11.2 – Countries with the Highest and Lowest Percentage of Obese Adults Among 33 Developed Countries

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Figure 11.3 – Comparison of Strategies Used by Successful and Unsuccessful Dieters

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Physical Development
Substance abuse
Reduced drug and alcohol use by mid-20s
Binge drinking increases during college years
Reaches peak around 21-22 years of age
Extreme binge drinking – 10 or more drinks in a row
Problems of binge drinking:
Missing classes
Physical injuries
Trouble with police
Unprotected sex

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Figure 11.4 – Binge Drinking in the Adolescence–Early Adulthood Transition

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Sexuality
Sexual activity in emerging adulthood
Most individuals are sexually active and unmarried
Patterns of heterosexual behavior:
Males have more casual sexual partners
Females report being more selective
Casual sex is more common in emerging adulthood than in late 20s
“Hooking up” – non-relational sex
“Friends with benefits” – friendship and sexual intimacy without exclusive romantic relationship

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Sexuality
Sexual orientation and behavior
Heterosexual attitudes and behavior
Americans fall into three categories:
⅓ have sex twice a week or more, ⅓ a few times a month, and ⅓ a few times a year or not at all
Married (and cohabiting) couples have sex more often than non-cohabiting couples
Most Americans do not engage in kinky sexual acts
Adultery is the exception rather than the rule
Men think about sex far more often than women do

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Figure 11.5 – The Sex in America Survey

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Sexuality
Sources of sexual orientation
Sexual orientation as a continuum
From exclusive male–female relations to exclusive same-sex relations
Some individuals are bisexual – attracted to both sexes
Women are more likely to change sexual patterns and desires than men
More likely to have sexual experiences with same and opposite sex, regardless of identification as heterosexual or lesbian
Sexual orientation likely a combination of genetic, hormonal, cognitive, and environmental factors

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Sexuality
Attitudes and behavior of lesbians and gay males
Many gender differences that appear in heterosexual relationships occur in same-sex relationships
Lesbians and gays experience life as a minority in a dominant, majority culture
Development of bicultural identity

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Sexuality
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): Diseases contracted primarily through sex
HIV
Virus breaks down and overpowers immune system
Leads to AIDS
Effective strategies for protecting against HIV
Know your risk status and that of your partner
Obtain medical examinations
Have protected sex
Do not have sex with multiple partners

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Figure 11.6 – Sexually Transmitted Infections

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Cognitive Development
Piaget’s view:
Adolescents and adults think qualitatively in the same way
Individuals consolidate formal operational thinking during adulthood
Postformal thought:
Reflective, relativistic, and contextual
Provisional
Realistic
Recognized as being influenced by emotion

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Cognitive Development
Creativity
Early adulthood is a time of great creativity for some people
Most creative products created in the 30s
Declines in creativity depend on field involved

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Careers and Work
Developmental changes
Career decision-making becomes less idealistic
Choosing a major or specialization in college
By early to mid-20s, many have completed education/training, enter full-time occupation
From mid-20s on, individuals often work hard to ascend career ladder and improve financial standing

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Careers and Work
Finding a path to a purpose
Consideration of purpose is missing in young adults’ achievement and career development
Only 20% of 12-22 year olds have a clear vision of where they want to go in life
Students focus only on short-term goals
Don’t explore the big, long-term picture of what they want to do in life

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Careers and Work
Impact of work
Influences on financial standing, housing, how time is spent, where people live, friendships, and health
Identity defined through work
Most individuals spend ⅓ of their lives at work
Disappearing long-term careers in many sectors
Stressful working conditions
Workers’ changing expectations about workplace

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Careers and Work
Work during college
Changing number of college students who hold jobs
Working can pay or help offset some costs of schooling
But can also can restrict students’ opportunities to learn

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Careers and Work
Occupational outlook
Shifting number of job openings as economic conditions change
U.S. government-published Occupational Outlook Handbook updates job projections every 2 years
Jobs that require college degrees among highest-paying
Unemployment
Produces stress regardless of whether the job loss is temporary, cyclical, or permanent
Linked to physical and mental problems, marital difficulties, and homicide

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Careers and Work
Dual-earner couples
Special challenges in balancing work and family life
Adaptive strategies to coordinate work and manage family
Gender equality strived for, but inequalities still persist

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