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Family Relations and Human Development
FRHD 1010
Susan Chuang

CHAPTER 10: YOUNG ADULT HOOD What makes an Adult? -for adult life stages there are no clear age divisions that mark the end of one and the beginning of another -across various studies young people from their early teens to their late twenties agreed the most important markers of their transition to adulthood are: accepting responsibility for oneself, making independent decisions, and becoming financially independent in that order -traditional cultures evaluate marriage as the key transition to adulthood because they prize collectivist view of interdependence (mutual obligations) more highly than the individualistic value of independence and marriage signifies that a person is taking on new interdependent relationships outside the family of origin -marriage is a social event rather than an individual, psychological process and it represents the establishment of a new network if relationships with all the kin of one’s marriage partner Physical Functioning and Health -emerging adulthood is the life stage of peak physical functioning in terms of strength, stamina, reaction time, and athletic performance -during young adulthood, physical functioning remains high and a time when the immune system strong and susceptibility to disease is low -young adults are also less likely than emerging adults to engage in risky behaviours such as unprotected sex and excess substance abuse -the aging process begins in young adulthood become more noticeable towards the end of young adulthood and in middle adulthood -issues with fitness, diet and obesity rise in importance -young adulthood is when hair begins to gray and thin for both men and women and the hairline begins to recede for many men especially with European heritage -changes in skin and muscle tone also influence physical appearance -levels of human growth hormone gradually decline in young adulthood and beyond causing the skin to become looser and the amount of muscle mass to decrease -Other skin changes cause wrinkles to appear -white people tend to age earlier than dark skin people 1 -other physical changes that take place in young adulthood are more subtle -heart muscles become more rigid only noticeable during times of intense physical activity -deposits of cholesterol and fat become to accumulate in the arteries -the immune system also shows sign of aging -still strong in young adulthood but declines in ways that may not be detectable -the thymus, a gland in the upper part of the chest gradually reduces its production of disease fighting T cells, B cells (another immune cell) that produces antibodies to destroy bacteria also declines -an important physiological change that takes place at age 25 is basal metabolic rate (BMR): amount of energy the body uses when at rest -from age 25-50 the average person’s BMR declines as a natural part of the aging process -this change makes it easier to accumulate weight because the body no longer burns as many calories as when resting -to maintain weight from the late twenties through 30’s a young adult would have to eat less or exercise more (or both) -young adulthood is a stage when many people whose weight was in the healthy range become overweight or obese and many of those who were already overweight become obese -another contributor to weight is genetics -rates of obesity vary greatly worldwide and are strongly correlated with affluence -ie: countries who are wealthy have more obese people -obesity places people at risk for a variety of health problems in young adulthood and beyond -high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep disorders, digestive problems etc. -social consequences of obesity as well such as being targets of teasing, ridicule and discrimination -people who are obese have more difficulty in finding a romantic partner than others and women who are obese in late adulthood are more likely to be depressed -for young adults who exercise regularly will gain many benefits from that especially if the exercise is aerobic 2 Aerobic exercise: exercise that involves vigorous movement that substantially elevates the heart rate for at least 30 minutes -running, swimming, dancing -promotes healthy weight because it reduces body fat -increases metabolic rate for several hours after exercise -regular exercise in young adulthood reduces the risk of a variety of illnesses and diseases in middle adulthood including diabetes and cardiovascular disease and several types of cancer -also mental benefits of exercise because it generates brain chemicals call endorphins which provide a pleasurable feeling and increase well-being -people who exercise regularly have lower rates of anxiety and depression Adult Intelligence: -longitudial studies of children with high IQ’s show that IQ is a strong predictor of adult success -but there is much career success in adulthood that IQ scores do not predict -in non-western countries they have a much different idea of what constitutes intelligence ex: in Africa, intelligence includes skills that promote group harmony and social responsibilities Cognitive Changes in Young Adulthood: -one important way cognitive development changes from emergin adulthood to young adulthood is that the focus becomes more on gaining expertise, meaning extensive knowlesge and skills in a specific field\ -expertise continues to develop into middle adulthood -gaining expertise allows people to address problems and tasks in their field more quickly and efficiently -they build a store of knowledge and experience in their field and when confronted with a problem or task they are likely to know something about it and have previous experience with a similar problem -by the late 20’s the brain is believed to reach adult maturity in the sense that the period of overproduction/exuberance is long past and synaptic pruning is no longer taking place at a high rate -that maturity in the frontal cortex promotes the kind of focused attention and goal- directed behaviour that leads to expertise 3 -another aspect of cognitive development that is especially important in young adulthood is creativity, the ability to put ideas or materials together in new culturally meaningful ways -young adulthood has been found to be an exceptionally creative lifestage -rise in young adulthood and peak in late thirties and early forties and then gradually decline through middle adulthood and late adulthood -young adulthood is such a creative period because it may have something to do with the relation between expertise and creativity -once expertise is fully established it then leads to creativity
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