Chapter 14: Early Adulthood – Social and Emotional Development
Did you know:
1. People are considered to be more attractive when they are smiling.
a. Studies seem to indicate that this is true.
2. “Opposites attract” has been proven to be a false notion.
a. People who are similar are usually more likely to be attracted to one
3. Couples can remain in love after passion fades.
a. With companionate love, couples can remain ‘in love’ after passion fades.
4. Jealousy can be destructive to a relationship.
a. Some milder forms of jealousy may have the positive effect of revealing
how much one cares for one’s partner. User beware!
5. Many people remain lonely because they fear being rejected.
a. Being alone is very different from being lonely. Studies show that being
lonely is a significant and complex issue for young adults.
6. Being single has become a more common Canadian lifestyle over the past few
a. The evolution of relationships has seen acceptance of a variety of different
7. Research indicates that having a child will not necessarily save a troubled
a. In fact, a newborn can often add stress to a couple’s relationship.
Early adulthood – ages 20 to 40 (though some theorists believe it starts at 17 or 18 and
extends to 44 or 45)
Traditional view of development laid down by developmental psychologist Robert
Havighurst (1972), believing that each stage of development involved accomplishing
1. Getting started in an occupation; 2. selecting and courting a mate; 3. learning to
live contentedly with one’s partner; 4. starting a family and becoming a parent; 5.
assuming the responsibilities of managing a home; 6. assuming civic
responsibilities; 7. finding a congenial social group
L01: Examine the issues involved in early adulthood separation
• Becoming an individual by means of integrating one’s own values and beliefs
with those of one’s parents and one’s society.
• Men consider separation and individuation key goals of personality development
in early adulthood
• Women differ – establish and maintenance of social relationships key importance;
need to become own persons; males more likely to show a struggle or a fight for
independence L02: Describe the conflict between intimacy and isolation
Intimacy versus Isolation
• Erikson – young adults have issues separating from parents
• Intimacy vs. isolation – the central conflict or life crisis of early adulthood, in
which a person develops an intimate relationship with a significant other or risks
heading down a path toward social isolation.
• Young adults with firm sense of identity ready to ‘fuse’ identities with those of
other people through marriage or friendship; may not be able to commit ourselves
to others until we have achieved ego identity or established stable life roles.
L03: Discuss the stage of life for entry into adulthood
Seasons of Life
• Daniel Levinson’s theory of adult development – people shape their lives
according to the goals they consider to be most important
• ages 17-33 entry phase of adulthood for young men
• “the dream”: the drive to become someone, to leave one’s mark on history, which
serves as a tentative blueprint for the young adult
• women take longer to leave home – social constraints from families and society
• Levinson labelled 28-33 (30 – transition; late 20s early 30s commonly
characterized by reassessment; later 30s characterized by settling down)
L04: Examine the emotional forces of attraction and love
• Investigators define feelings of attraction as psychological forces that draw people
together; physical appearance key factor; though we like to say that sensitivity,
warmth and intelligence
• Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? Women prefer men 6 inches taller, men
prefer omen 4.5 inches shorter; most men attracted to ample bustlines; women at
fertile phase of menstrual cycle found men with more masculine ‘deeper’ voices
to be more attractive
• Nonphysical traits affect perceptions of physical beauty – familiarity, liking,
respect, sharing values and goals
• Sex Differences and Perceptions of Attractiveness: gender-role expectations –
women more attracted to socially dominant man; men attracted to socially
• Are Preferences Concerning Attractiveness Inborn? Reproductive advantages
• The Attraction-similarity hypothesis: Do ‘opposites attract’ or ‘do birds of a
feather flock together’? – the view that people tend to develop romantic
relationships with people who are similar to themselves in physical attractiveness
and other traits.
• Reciprocity: If you like me, you must have excellent judgment – reciprocity is a
potent determinant of attraction
Love: • Romantic love – a form of love fuelled by passion and feelings of intimacy;
represented in fairy tales
• Love is a complex concept, involving many areas of experience
• Love as appraisal of arousal: Berscheid and Hatfield – intense physiological
arousal and the cognitive appraisal of that arousal as love
• Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love (2006)
o Intimacy – experince of warmth toward another person that arises from
feelings of closeness and connectedness, and the desire to share one’s
o Passion – intense romantic or sexual desire, accompanied by physiological
o Commitment – commitment to maintain the relationship though good
times and bad.
• Sternberg: various combinations of the building blocks of love characterize
different types of love relationships; romantic love has both passion and intimacy
but lacks commitment; fatuous love – foolish love;
• Sternberg’s Typology of Love
1. Nonlove ~ A relationship in which all three components of love are absent.
Characterizes casual interactions or acquaintances.
2. Liking ~ Intimacy without passion and commitment, as found in friendship. 3. Infatuation ~ “Love at first sight” in which one experiences passionate desire for
another person in the absence of intimacy and commitment.
4. Empty Love ~ Characterized by commitment to maintain the relationship in the
absence of passion and intimacy. Describes stagnant relationships that no longer
involve emotional intimacy or physical attraction.
5. Romantic Love ~ Characterized by the combination of passion and intimacy but
6. Companionate Love ~ Characterized by intimacy and commitment. It often
occurs in long-term relationships in which passion has waned and been replaced
by committed friendship.
7. Fatuous Love ~ Associated with whirlwind romances and “quickie marriages.”
Passion and comm