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desarrollo de los adolescentes

Desarrollo Fsico
I. CONCEPTOS DE LA ADOLESCENCIA
La adolescencia comienza con lapubertad,con varios eventos biolgicos que conducen a un
cuerpo de tamao adulto y la madurez sexual.
La tasa de graves trastornos psicolgicos se eleva slo ligeramente desde la infancia hasta la
adolescencia.
biolgicos, psicolgicos, sociales y fuerzas se combinan para influir en el desarrollo del
adolescente.
En los pases industrializados, la adolescencia se extiende en gran medida, ya que los jvenes
se enfrentan a la dependencia prolongada y aplazamiento de la satisfaccin sexual mientras se preparan
para una vida de trabajo productivo.
II. Pubertad: transicin fsica a la edad adulta
procesos hormonales genticamente influido regulan el crecimiento puberal.
Las nias alcanzan la pubertad, en promedio, dos aos antes que los nios.
En la infancia media, secreciones de la hormona del crecimientoel y de aumentotiroxina,lo que
lleva a enormes aumentos en el tamao corporal y al logro de la madurez esqueltica.
La maduracin sexual es controlada por las hormonas sexuales, estrgenos y andrgenos.
Entre las edades de 6 y 8, aumento de los niveles de andrgenos suprarrenales influyen
aumento de estatura de las nias y estimulan el crecimiento de las axilas y el vello pbico en las nias.
testculos vencimiento de los muchachos liberan grandes cantidades de testosterona, lo que
conduce al crecimiento del msculo, vello facial y corporal, y otras caractersticas sexuales masculinas.
Durante el perodo de crecimiento, adolescentes aaden 10 a 11 pulgadas de altura y 50 a 75
libras. El crecimiento es completa para la mayora de las nias de 16 aos y para los nios por 17aos
dede1/2edad.
Durante la pubertad, las grandes diferencias de sexo en las proporciones del cuerpo aparecen.
Las ganancias de las nias en el rendimiento del sistema motor es lenta y gradual, estabilizndose
los 14 aos Los nios muestran una aceleracin dramtica en la fuerza, velocidad y resistencia que
contina hasta la adolescencia.
En un estudio de jvenes estadounidenses entre las edades de 9 a 17, slo una minora de los
participantes que participan en el ejercicio regular fuera del horario escolar. En la escuela secundaria,
slo el 55 por ciento de los nios estadounidenses y el 48 por ciento de las nias reciben ningn tipo de
educacin fsica.
En la adolescencia, los cambios ocurren tanto en las caractersticas sexuales primarias y las
caractersticas sexuales secundarias.
Mujer pubertad comienza generalmente con la brotacin de las mamas y la etapa de crecimiento.
La menarquia se produce normalmente alrededor del 12aos de1/2 para las nias de Amrica del Norte, 13
para los europeos occidentales.
Naturaleza retrasa la madurez sexual hasta que el cuerpo de la nia es lo suficientemente
grande como para tener hijos.
En los nios, el primer signo de la pubertad es el agrandamiento de los testculos, acompaados
por cambios en el escroto. El vello pbico surge poco despus, casi al mismo tiempo el pene comienza a
agrandar.
La aceleracin del crecimiento en los nios picos a aproximadamente 14 aos de edad;
espermarquia, o primera eyaculacin, por lo general se produce alrededor de 13aos de 1/2edad.
La herencia, la nutricin y el ejercicio, todo ello contribuye a la sincronizacin de los cambios de
la pubertad.
En las mujeres, un aumento rpido en el peso corporal y la grasa puede acelerar la maduracin
sexual mediante la liberacin de leptina, que se cree que es una seal al cerebro de que las reservas de
energa de la nia son suficientes para la pubertad.
En las regiones afectadas por la pobreza donde la desnutricin y las enfermedades infecciosas
son comunes, la menarquia se retrasa en gran medida, pero en los pases industrializados donde la
comida es abundante, herencia y el ambiente influyen de manera conjunta el crecimiento puberal.
En los Estados Unidos y algunos pases europeos, aumento de las tasas de sobrepeso y
obesidad son responsables de una modesta tendencia, continuando hacia la menarquia antes.
La investigacin del cerebro de imgenes revela continu la poda de sinapsis no utilizadas en la
corteza cerebral, especialmente la corteza prefrontal, en la adolescencia.
A medida que los vnculos entre la corteza prefrontal y otras reas de la corteza cerebral y el
cerebro interno ampliar y lograr una comunicacin rpida, adolescentes ganan en la funcin ejecutiva,
razonamiento, resolucin de problemas y toma de decisiones.
Debido a su red-control cognitivo prefrontal todava requiere ajuste fino, el rendimiento de los
adolescentes en tareas que requieren la inhibicin, la planificacin, y la demora de la gratificacin an no
est completamente maduro. Pero debido a los cambios endel la red emocional / socialcerebro,
adolescentes reaccionan con ms fuerza a los acontecimientos estresantes y experiencia estmulos
placenteros con mayor intensidad.
En la pubertad, se producen cambios en la regulacin del sueo del cerebro. Adolescentes
privados de sueo experimentan descensos en la funcin ejecutiva y la autorregulacin.
III. El impacto psicolgico de fenmenos de la pubertad

Muchas sociedades de tribus y pueblos celebran el inicio de la pubertad con una ceremonia de
iniciacin, mientras que las sociedades occidentales otorgan la condicin de adulto parcial a diferentes
edades.
Los niveles de hormonas puberales ms altas se relacionan con una mayor malhumor en la
adolescencia temprana; eventos negativos de la vida tambin juegan un papel.
distanciamiento psicolgico entre padres e hijos puede ser un sustituto moderno para la partida
fsica de la familia que es tpico entre los primates no humanos y en muchas culturas pueblo y tribales.
En los estudios de tiempo de la pubertad, los nios de maduracin temprana eran vistos como
relajada, independiente, segura de s misma, y fsicamente atractivo; maduracin temprana nias eran
impopulares, retirado, falta de confianza en s mismo, ansioso, y con tendencia a la depresin.
-maduracin temprana chicas europeas-estadounidenses tienden a reportar unamenos positiva
imagen corporal que la del tiempo de funcionamiento y sus homlogos de maduracin tarda; chicos
maduracin temprana son ms propensos a estar satisfechos con sus caractersticas fsicas.
adolescentes precoces suelen buscar compaeros mayores, que las animan a las actividades
que no estn preparados para manejar.
IV. PROBLEMAS DE SALUD
La pubertad conduce a un aumento dramtico en los requerimientos nutricionales, en momentos
en que las dietas de muchas personas jvenes son los ms pobres.
La frecuencia de las comidas familiares est fuertemente asociado con una alimentacin saludable
en los adolescentes.
Las nias que llegan a la pubertad precoz y que crecen en hogares donde la preocupacin por el
peso y la delgadez es alta estn en riesgo de problemas de alimentacin.
La anorexia nerviosa es un trastorno de la alimentacin trgica en la que los jvenes dejan
morir de hambre a causa de un miedo compulsivo a engordar. Los casos han aumentado
considerablemente durante el ltimo medio siglo.
En la bulimianerviosa,los jvenes se involucran en el comer en exceso seguido de vmitos
deliberada, purga con laxantes, ejercicio excesivo o ayuno.
Debido a que los jvenes con bulimia suelen sentirse deprimido y culpable por sus hbitos
alimenticios anormales, es ms fcil de tratar que la anorexia.
trastorno por atracones-binging sin purga compensatoria, el ejercicio o el ayuno est asociado
con dificultades de adaptacin social y angustia emocional severa.
Si los padres proporcionan poca o ninguna informacin sobre el sexo, los adolescentes son
propensos a obtener su informacin de amigos, hermanos, libros, revistas, pelculas, televisin, e
Internet.
La exposicin a los medios de comunicacin sexualizada predice aumento de la actividad sexual,
el embarazo, y las conductas de acoso sexual.
Los adolescentes reciben mensajes contradictorios sobre el sexo: por un lado, la desaprobacin
de adultos de sexo a una edad temprana; por el contrario, un entorno social que ensalza la excitacin
sexual, la experimentacin y la promiscuidad.
En general, las tasas de actividad sexual de los adolescentes son similares en los Estados
Unidos y otros pases occidentales.
Una variedad de efectos adversos personales, familiares, compaeros y caractersticas
educativas estn relacionadas con la actividad sexual de los adolescentes temprano y frecuente.
el uso de anticonceptivos de los adolescentes ha aumentado en los ltimos aos, pero alrededor
del 14 por ciento de los adolescentes sexualmente activos estadounidenses no utilizar un mtodo
anticonceptivo consistente.
Los adolescentes que hablan abiertamente con sus padres sobre el sexo y la anticoncepcin son
ms propensos a usar un mtodo anticonceptivo.
Alrededor del 5 por ciento de los Estados Unidos los estudiantes de secundaria se identifican
como lesbianas, homosexuales o bisexuales; otros 2 a 3 por ciento no estar seguro de su orientacin
sexual informe.
La herencia hace una importante contribucin a la orientacin sexual. Algunos investigadores
creen que ciertos genes afectan el nivel o el impacto de las hormonas sexuales prenatales, que
modifican las estructuras cerebrales de manera que inducen sentimientos y comportamientos
homosexuales. Los factores ambientales tambin pueden alterar las hormonas prenatales.
la paternidad adolescente tiene un efecto negativo sobre el nivel de instruccin, los patrones
matrimoniales, y las circunstancias econmicas.
Debido a que muchas adolescentes embarazadas no reciben atencin prenatal temprana, sus
bebs a menudo experimentan el embarazo y complicaciones en el parto, especialmente bajo peso al
nacer.
En comparacin con las madres adultas, madres adolescentes interactan con menor eficacia
con sus bebs y ms a menudo se involucran en la crianza dura o abusivo.
Los padres jvenes necesitan cuidado de la salud, estmulo a permanecer en la escuela, la
formacin profesional, la enseanza de la crianza y manejo de la vida habilidades, y de alta calidad,
cuidado de nios asequible.
Los adolescentes viven en contextos culturales dependientes de las drogas, y los mdicos hoy
en da ms a menudo recetan medicamentos para tratar los problemas de los nios. En la adolescencia,
estos jvenes pueden fcilmente automedicarse cuando est estresado.
La mayora de los adolescentes que tratan de alcohol, tabaco o marihuana son
experimentadores ocasionales, pero un movimiento minoritario preocupante delde sustancias uso de
abuso.
El abuso de drogas en adolescentes puede tener races genticas, pero los factores ambientales
tambin contribuyen; estos incluyen NSE bajo, problemas de salud mental de la familia, la falta de
participacin de los padres, el abuso fsico y sexual, y bajo rendimiento escolar.
La introduccin de drogas en la adolescencia pueden tener consecuencias a largo plazo, las
neuronas que menoscabe y sus redes conectivos.
Los programas escolares y comunitarios que reducen la experimentacin con drogas suelen
promover la crianza efectiva, hacen hincapi en los riesgos de salud y seguridad del consumo de drogas,
y ensean habilidades para resistir la presin de grupo.
VII. Consecuencias deADOLESCENTES COGNITIVASCambios de
la capacidadlos adolescentes a reflexionar sobre sus propios pensamientos, combinados con los
cambios fsicos y psicolgicos, les lleva a pensar ms en s mismos.
seguidores de Piaget identificaron dos imgenes distorsionadas de la relacin entre el yo y el
otro que aparecen comnmente: el pblico imaginario y la fbula personal.
Estas distorsiones cognitivas resultan en parte de los cambios hormonales que aumentan la
sensibilidad social y los avances en la toma de perspectiva, que causan los adolescentes jvenes a ser
ms preocupado por lo que otros piensan.
capacidad de los adolescentes a pensar en posibilidades que les permite imaginar un mundo
ideal y considerar la familia alternativa, religiosa, poltica y sistemas morales.
La disparidad entre idealismo y adultos jvenes un mayor realismo crea tensin entre padre e
hijo.
Los adolescentes a menudo obtienen peores resultados que los adultos en la toma de
decisiones, en la que deben inhibir las emociones y los impulsos a favor de pensar racionalmente.
habilidades de procesamiento que se rigen por la red, el control cognitivo prefrontal, tales como
la toma de decisiones, desarrollar gradualmente; adolescentes a menudo no tienen el conocimiento
suficiente para considerar pros y los contras y predecir los resultados probables.
Debido a la toma de riesgos sin experimentar resultados dainos puede aumentar la sensacin
de invulnerabilidad de los adolescentes, que necesitan supervisin y proteccin de las experiencias de
alto riesgo.
VIII. Aprendizaje en la escuela
transiciones de la escuela puede crear problemas de ajuste que conducen a una disminucin en
los grados de los adolescentes con cada cambio.
Adems de los estndares acadmicos ms estrictos, la transicin a la escuela secundaria a
menudo significa menos atencin personal, ms la instruccin de toda la clase, y menos posibilidades de
participar en la toma de decisiones en el aula.
transiciones escolares a menudo conducen a los cambios ambientales que se ajustan mal con
las necesidades de desarrollo de los adolescentes.
Entre otros enfoques, la combinacin de escuela primaria y secundaria en K-8 edificios o forman
unidades ms pequeas dentro de las escuelas ms grandes pueden promover relaciones ms
estrechas con los profesores y los compaeros y una mayor participacin en actividades
extracurriculares.
Una masa crtica de compaeros de su misma etnia ayuda a los adolescentes se sienten
socialmente aceptados y reduce el miedo de hostilidad fuera del grupo.
entornos educativos positivos, tanto de la familia y la escuela, conducen a los rasgos personales
que apoyan el logro-inteligencia, la confianza en las habilidades propias, el deseo de tener xito, y
grandes aspiraciones educativas.
crianza autorizada, est vinculado a los grados superiores y las puntuaciones de las pruebas de
rendimiento entre los adolescentes que varan ampliamente en SES. Estilos autoritarios, permisivos y no
involucrados estn asociados con una peor logro y descensos acadmicas.
estudiantes de lograr altos suelen tener padres que mantener su inversin en la educacin de su
hijo adolescente, asegurarse de que su hijo est inscrito en clases desafiantes, as que se ensean-y
participar en la planificacin acadmica.
vnculos ms fuertes hogar y la escuela pueden aliviar algo de la tensin en los padres que viven
en agotados, barrios de alto riesgo.
Los adolescentes cuyos padres logro valor general elegir a los amigos que comparten esos
valores.
El apoyo entre iguales para el alto rendimiento tambin depende del clima general de la cultura
de pares, que, para los jvenes de minoras tnicas, est fuertemente afectada por el orden social
circundante.
Para los adolescentes de minoras afroamericanas, trato discriminatorio por los profesores y los
compaeros desencadena la ira, la ansiedad, la duda, disminuye la motivacin y el rendimiento, y el
aumento de los problemas de comportamiento.
Las escuelas que se acumulan cerca redes de apoyo entre los profesores y los compaeros
pueden prevenir estos resultados negativos.
uso de mensajes de texto, correo electrnico y sitios de medios sociales -incluso durante la clase
y mientras se trabaja en Adolescentes de la tarea-plantea riesgos para el logro.
Los abandonos tienen tasas de empleo mucho ms bajos que los graduados de secundaria y,
cuando se emplean, son ms propensos a permanecer en trabajos de baja categora y mal pagados.
A pesar de que muchos abandonos muestran un patrn persistente de comportamiento
perturbador combinado con bajo rendimiento acadmico, otros simplemente experimentan dificultades
acadmicas y en silencio se desenganchan de la escuela.
En comparacin con otros estudiantes, los abandonos son ms propensos a tener padres que no
participan en su educacin.
Estrategias para ayudar a los jvenes en riesgo de abandonar los estudios incluyen (1) la
instruccin suplementaria acadmica y el asesoramiento que ofrecen atencin personalizada, (2) la
formacin profesional de alta calidad, (3) los esfuerzos para abordar los muchos factores en la vida de
los estudiantes relacionados con el abandono escolar temprano, y (4) la participacin en actividades
extracurriculares.
La
teora de Erikson: IDENTIDAD versus confusin de roles
Erik Erikson fue el primero en reconocer la identidad como el principal logro de la personalidad
de la adolescencia y como un paso crucial para convertirse en un productivo, contenido para adultos.
La construccin de una identidad implica la definicin de lo que eres, lo que usted valora, y las
instrucciones que optar por seguir en la vida.
Erikson llama el conflicto psicolgico dede la adolescencia la identidadfrente a la confusin de
roles.
Si los conflictos anteriores de los jvenes se resolvieron negativamente o si la sociedad limita
sus opciones a las que no coinciden con sus capacidades y deseos, pueden parecer poco profunda, sin
direccin, y no estn preparados para los desafos de la edad adulta.
tericos actuales estn de acuerdo en que el cuestionamiento de los valores y las prioridades es
necesaria para una identidad madura, pero este proceso no ven como una crisis para la mayora de los
jvenes, sino ms bien como un proceso de exploracin seguido por el compromiso.
II. Autocomprensin
Durante la adolescencia, la visin de la persona joven del auto se vuelve ms compleja, bien
organizada y coherente.
En la descripcin de s mismos, los adolescentes unifican rasgos separados ( inteligente y
curioso) en descriptores ms abstractas ( inteligente). Pero estas generalizaciones no estn
interconectados y son a menudo contradictorios.
Poco a poco, los cambios cognitivos permiten a los adolescentes para combinar sus rasgos en
un sistema organizado.
Entre los adolescentes mayores, los valores personales y morales aparecen como temas clave, y
los jvenes revisan sus puntos de vista de s mismos para incluir creencias y planes perdurables.
Los adolescentes agregan varias nuevas dimensiones de la amistad autoevaluacin de cerca,
atractivo romntico, y la capacidad de trabajo.
Para la mayora de los jvenes, el nivel de aumentos generales de autoestima.
Las investigaciones indican que para los jvenes de Estados Unidos, un sentido creciente de
dominio predice fuertemente este aumento de la autoestima.
Autorizada la crianza y el aliento de los maestros predicen favorables autoestima en la
adolescencia, mientras que los adolescentes cuyos padres son crticos e insultante tener inestable y
generalmente baja autoestima.
Los investigadores han derivado cuatro estados de identidad en base a dos criterios
fundamentales, la exploracin y el compromiso: (1) los logros de identidad, (2) suspensin de
identidad, (3) de exclusin de identidad, y (4) difusin de la identidad.
Muchos jvenes cambian de estados inferiores (ejecucin o difusin) a los superiores
(moratoria o logro) entre su adolescencia y mediados de los aos veinte, pero otros permanecen
estables o se mueven en la direccin inversa.
Asistir universidad promueve el desarrollo de la identidad, proporcionando mayores
oportunidades para explorar los valores, las opciones de carrera, y estilos de vida.
Los jvenes que van a trabajar inmediatamente despus de la graduacin de la escuela
secundaria estn en riesgo de ejecucin hipotecaria identidad o difusin si se encuentran con obstculos
para la realizacin de sus objetivos en el trabajo debido a la falta de formacin o las opciones
profesionales.
Identidad y logro moratoria son psicolgicamente rutas saludables a una autodefinicin madura,
en la que los jvenes utilizan un activa estilocognitivo de recopilacin de informacin para tomar
decisiones y resolver problemas personales.
adjudicados individuos muestran un estilo cognitivo dogmtica, inflexible, la internalizacin de los
valores y las creencias de los padres y otras personas sin una evaluacin deliberada e informacin
resistir que amenaza su posicin.
individuos difundidos a largo plazo suelen utilizar un estilo cognitivo difuso-evitacin, permitiendo
presiones situacionales actuales dictan a sus reacciones.
Los adolescentes que asumen que la verdad absoluta es siempre alcanzable tienden a ser
excluidos, mientras que los que dudan de que alguna vez se sienten seguros de nada son ms a
menudo identidad difusa.
Los jvenes que se sienten unidos a sus padres, sino tambin libres para expresar sus propias
opiniones tienden a ser en su camino hacia el logro de identidad.
Interaccin con compaeros diversos fomenta la exploracin de los valores y posibilidades de
roles. Las escuelas y las comunidades pueden ayudar ofreciendo oportunidades ricas y variadas para la
exploracin.
La cultura influye fuertemente en un aspecto de la identidad madura no capturado por el enfoque de
la identidad de estado: la construccin de un sentido de auto-continuidad a pesar de los cambios
personales significativos.
Las fuerzas sociales son responsables de los problemas especiales que enfrentan las personas
lesbianas, homosexuales, bisexuales y los jvenes y los adolescentes de minoras tnicas, para quienes
la identidad tnica es fundamental para la bsqueda de la identidad.
En muchas familias inmigrantes, los adolescentes pueden experimentar estrs acumulativo
resultante de conflicto entre la minora y la cultura de acogida.
La formacin de una identidad bicultural que incorpora los valores tanto de la subcultura de la
adolescente y la cultura dominante ofrece beneficios adicionales.
III.desarrollo moral
Trabajo tempranode Piaget sobre el juicio moral del nio inspirado la teora del desarrollo
cognitivo ms amplio de Lawrence Kohlberg de comprensin moral.
Conocido Heinz dilema de Kohlbergenfrenta al valor de la obediencia a la ley (no robar) contra
el valor de la vida humana (ahorro de un moribundo).
Kohlberg del desarrollo moral organizado en tres niveles, cada uno con dos etapas. Se cree que
la comprensin moral es promovida por (1) luchando activamente con cuestiones morales y darse cuenta
de las debilidades en el razonamiento actual de uno y (2) las ganancias en la toma de perspectiva.
Ade nivel preconvencionalKohlberg, los nios aceptan las reglas de las figuras de autoridad y
acciones juzgar por sus consecuencias. Comportamientos que resultan en la pena son vistos como
malos, los que conducen a recompensas como buenos.
En el nivel convencional, las personas consideran la conformidad a las normas sociales tan
importantes porque mantener activamente el sistema social actual garantiza relaciones positivas y el
orden social.
Las personas en el postconvencional nivel de movimiento ms all del apoyo incondicional a
las normas y leyes de su propia sociedad. Definen la moralidad en trminos de principios y valores
abstractos que se aplican a todas las situaciones y las sociedades.
La investigacin longitudinal confirma que la mayora de los individuos se mueven a travs de las
primeras cuatro etapas en el orden previsto. Etapa 4 razonamiento se eleva sobre la adolescencia hasta
que, entre los adultos jvenes con estudios universitarios, es la respuesta tpica. Pero pocas personas se
mueven ms all de la fase 4 a postconvencionales etapas de Kohlberg.
madurez moral se puede encontrar en una comprensin revisada de las etapas 3 y 4, que no se
basan en la conformidad social (como se supone Kohlberg), sino, ms bien, requiere profundas
construcciones morales.
Al igual que las etapas cognitivas de Piaget, estadios morales de Kohlberg no desarrollan de
forma gradual ordenada; ms bien, las personas se basan en una serie de respuestas morales que
varan con el contexto.
Carol Gilligan y otros han argumentado que la teora de Kohlberg no representa adecuadamente
la moralidad de las nias y las mujeres, que hace hincapi en una tica del cuidado que el sistema de
Kohlberg devala.
La mayora de los estudios no apoyan la afirmacin de que el enfoque de Kohlberg subestima la
madurez moral de las mujeres. En ambos dilemas hipotticos y problemas morales cotidianas,
adolescentes y adultos hembras presentan el razonamiento en el mismo escenario que sus compaeros
de su edad de sexo masculino, y, a menudo en una etapa superior.
Cierta evidencia indica que a pesar de la moralidad de machos y hembras grifos ambas
orientaciones, las mujeres tienden a hacer hincapi en la atencin, mientras que los machos, ya sea el
estrs o la justicia centrarse igualmente en la justicia y la atencin.
A medida que los adolescentes ampliar la gama de temas que consideran personal, que
finalmente se dan cuenta de que la violacin de las convenciones fuertemente arraigadas puede daar a
otros, y ellos llegan a entender que muchas convenciones sociales son vitales para el mantenimiento de
una sociedad justa y pacfica.
Factores que afectan a la madurez del razonamiento moral incluyen las prcticas de crianza, la
interaccin entre pares, la educacin y la cultura.
Los adolescentes que ms ganan en comprensin moral tienen padres que se involucran en las
discusiones morales, fomentar un comportamiento pro-social, insisten en que los otros sean tratados de
manera justa, y crean una atmsfera de apoyo al escuchar con sensibilidad, hacer preguntas
aclaratorias, y presentar el razonamiento de nivel superior.
La interaccin entre pares que presentan diferentes puntos de vista promueve la comprensin
moral. A travs de la negociacin y comprometedora, los jvenes se dan cuenta de que la vida social se
basa en la cooperacin entre iguales.
amistades Intergroup contacto cruzada de carrera y las interacciones en las escuelas y
comunidades, reduce el prejuicio racial y tnica, y tambin afecta a los jvenes moralmente.
El razonamiento moral tpicamente progresa a etapas superiores de Kohlberg cuanto ms tiempo
una persona permanece en la escuela.
entornos universitarios introducir a los jvenes a los problemas sociales que se extienden ms
all de las relaciones personales a grupos polticos o culturales enteras.
Las personas de los pases industrializados se mueven a travs de etapas de Kohlberg ms
rpidamente y avanzar a un nivel ms alto que los de las sociedades rurales, que rara vez se mueve
ms all de la Etapa 3.
Estos resultados plantean la cuestin de si el nivel ms alto de Kohlberg representa una forma
culturalmente especfica de pensar, limitado a las sociedades occidentales que hacen hincapi en el
individualismo y una apelacin a una conciencia interior.
Sin embargo, una revisin de ms de 100 estudios confirmaron una tendencia relacionada con la
edad en consonancia con las etapas de Kohlberg 1 a 4 a travs de diversas sociedades.
De acuerdo con Kohlberg, pensadores morales maduros se dan cuenta que se comporta de
acuerdo con sus creencias es vital para la creacin y mantenimiento de un mundo social justo.
Sin embargo, la conexin entre el razonamiento moral madura y accin slo es modesta. El
comportamiento moral tambin est influenciada por las emociones, las diferencias individuales en el
temperamento, experiencias culturales y morales propia identidad.
Los factores que fortalecen la identidad moral incluyen ciertas prcticas de crianza (disciplina
inductiva y expectativas morales claramente transmitidos) y oportunidades para promulgar
comportamientos morales a travs de servicio a la comunidad.
Los adolescentes que siguen formando parte de una comunidad religiosa son favorecidos sobre
los jvenes no afiliados en los valores morales y el comportamiento, pero los mensajes religiosos o
polticos que transmiten estereotipos y prejuicios sobre las minoras trabajar en contra de la madurez
moral.
Los investigadores que creen que la teora de Kohlberg explica de manera inadecuada para la
moralidad en la vida cotidiana a favor de un enfoque pragmtico a la moral, en el que los juicios morales
de todos los das, en lugar de ser los esfuerzos para llegar a soluciones justas, son simplemente
herramientas prcticas que utilizan las personas para lograr sus objetivos.
Los partidarios de la perspectiva cognitivo-evolutivo sealan que las personas con frecuencia
elevan por encima de su propio inters para defender los derechos de los dems.
IV. LA FAMILIA
Desarrollo en la adolescencia implica la bsqueda de la autonoma, que tiene tanto un
emocional y un componentecomportamiento.
La autonoma es apoyada por los cambios dentro de la adolescencia, incluyendo distanciamiento
psicolgico y el desarrollo cognitivo, y se ve favorecida por los lazos entre padres y adolescentes clido,
solidario que hacen demandas apropiadas para la madurez al tiempo que permite a los jvenes a
explorar ideas y roles sociales.
Los padres que son coercitivas o psicolgicamente el control de interferir con el desarrollo de la
autonoma.
Los padres inmigrantes de culturas que hacen hincapi en la obediencia a la autoridad tienen
mayor dificultad para adaptarse a empujar a sus adolescentes para tomar decisiones independientes.
A medida que los adolescentes adquieren el lenguaje de la cultura de acogida occidental y estn
expuestos a sus valores individualistas, los padres inmigrantes pueden llegar a ser ms crtica, lo que
llev a los adolescentes a depender menos de la red familiar de apoyo social, con el consiguiente estrs
acumulativo.
A lo largo de la adolescencia, la calidad de la relacin padre-hijo es el nico predictor ms
consistente de la salud mental. A mediados y finales de la adolescencia, la interaccin armoniosa va en
aumento.
Los padres que son financieramente segura, no sobrecargados con las presiones del trabajo, y
contento con su matrimonio por lo general les resulta ms fcil de conceder la autonoma adolescentes
apropiado y experimentan menos conflictos con ellos.
Los adolescentes que desarrollan bien a pesar de los factores de estrs de la familia se
benefician de los mismos factores que fomentan la resiliencia en aos anteriores.
En la adolescencia, las interacciones entre hermanos a menudo se vuelven menos intensos,
tanto en los sentimientos positivos y negativos.
Los hermanos que establecieron un vnculo positivo en la primera infancia siguen mostrando una
mayor afecto y cuidado.
La cultura influye en las relaciones entre hermanos adolescentes, como se ve en el ideal cultural
hispana del familismo, que fomenta las relaciones entre hermanos armoniosas.
Las relaciones entre pares V.
Los adolescentes hacen hincapi en la intimidad, entendimiento mutuo ely la lealtad como
caractersticas importantes de la amistad.
La auto-revelacin entre amigos se eleva sobre los aos de la adolescencia.
amigos adolescentes tienden a ser iguales en el estado de identidad, las aspiraciones
educativas, creencias polticas, sntomas depresivos, y la voluntad de probar drogas y participar en los
actos infractoras a la ley.
La cooperacin y la afirmacin mutua entre amigos aumentan en la adolescencia, y la interaccin
negativa disminuye.
cercana emocional es ms comn en las amistades entre las nias, cuyas interacciones
contener ms auto-revelacin y declaraciones de apoyo, mientras que los nios ms a menudo se
renen para una actividad que por lo general los deportes y juegos competitivos.
Tal vez por valoracin cultural de la expresividad emocional entre amigos varones, nios
hispanos son ms propensos que otros a resistir a confirmar estereotipo masculino que ser duro y sin
emociones.
Una tendencia para que los amigos coruminate, o repetidamente reflexionar sobre los problemas
y las emociones negativas, pueden desencadenar la ansiedad y la depresin.
Cuando surge un conflicto entre amigos ntimos, existe un mayor potencial de una parte a daar
a la otra a travs de la agresin relacional.
Los dispositivos mviles sirven como ruta primaria de los adolescentes a Internet, y mensajes de
texto se ha convertido en el medio preferido de interaccin electrnica entre amigos adolescentes. Las
llamadas a telfonos ocupa el segundo lugar, seguido de la mensajera instantnea y las redes sociales.
Los adolescentes tambin pasan tiempo en lnea con amigos a travs de correo electrnico, el
chat de vdeo y juegos en lnea.
Interaccin en lnea puede contribuir a la amistad cercana, tanto a travs de la divulgacin en
lnea de pensamientos y sentimientos ya travs de compartir una actividad en lnea.
Las redes sociales son un importante medio para que los adolescentes conocer nuevos amigos.
Los medios de comunicacin sociales de los adolescentes tiende a reproducir la calidad de sus
relaciones cara a cara.
La comunicacin en lnea tambin tiene sus riesgos, incluyendo la exposicin a mensajes
sexualmente desinhibidas y celos expresadas entre amigos a travs de socios de citas.
Uso muy alta en medios sociales est ligada a experiencias insatisfactorias cara a cara sociales,
el aburrimiento y la depresin.
amistades adolescentes que son altos en la confianza, el intercambio ntimo, y apoyo y no se
caracteriza por la agresin relacional o atraccin por el comportamiento antisocial contribuyen a muchos
aspectos de la salud psicolgica y la competencia en la edad adulta temprana.
las Cierreamistades (1) proporcionar oportunidades para explorar el yo y desarrollar un profundo
conocimiento de otro,
(2) proporcionar una base para futuras relaciones ntimas, (3) ayudan a los jvenes hacer frente a las
tensiones de la adolescencia, y (4) puede mejorar y las actitudes hacia la participacin en la escuela.
En la adolescencia temprana,muy cerradas los grupos de pares tienden a organizarse en
camarillas, pequeos grupos de amigos que por lo general se parecen entre s en el fondo de la familia,
las actitudes, los valores y los intereses.
Entre los adolescentes occidentales de enseanza media superior con estructuras sociales
complejas, a menudo varias camarillas con valores similares forman un grupo ms grande, ms
vagamente organizadas llama una multitud, que otorga a sus miembros una identidad dentro de la
estructura social ms grande de la escuela.
adolescentes minoritarios que se asocian con una multitud tnicamente definido, en oposicin a
una multitud que refleja sus capacidades e intereses, pueden estar motivados por la discriminacin en la
escuela o en el vecindario o pueden estar expresando una fuerte identidad tnica.
Entre los adolescentes heterosexuales, como el inters en incrementos de citas, vienen los nios
y nias camarillas juntos en camarillas de ambos sexos, que proporcionan modelos para la forma de
interactuar con el otro sexo.
Al final de la adolescencia, la camarilla de ambos sexos desaparece y las multitudes perder
importancia.
Las expectativas culturales determinan cundo y cmo comienza a salir. Los jvenes
adolescentes mencionan la recreacin y obtener la calificacin de pares como razones para cita; a
finales de la adolescencia, los jvenes buscan socios de citas que ofrecen compatibilidad personal, el
compaerismo, el afecto y el apoyo social.
El logro de la intimidad en la pareja de citas por lo general va a la zaga entre amigos.
De acuerdo con la teora etolgica, bonos de apego temprano conducen a un modelo de trabajo
interno que gua las relaciones ms adelante.
datacin temprana est relacionada con el consumo de drogas, la delincuencia y el bajo
rendimiento acadmico.
jvenes gays y lesbianas se enfrentan a desafos especiales para iniciar y mantener romances
visibles. As with heterosexual youths, security of attachment to parents and friends predicts gratifying
romantic ties among sexual minority adolescents.
As long as dating leads to warm, supportive romantic bonds, it fosters adjustment and provides
beneficial lessons in relating to people generally.
VI. PROBLEMS OF DEVELOPMENT
The most common psychological problem of adolescence is depression, which increases sharply
from ages 12 to 16 in industrialized nations. Teenage girls are twice as likely as boys to report persistent
depressed mood.
Depression is moderately heritable, and research suggests that the hormonal changes of puberty
play a role.
Genetic and hormonal risk factors seem to sensitize the brain to react more strongly to stressful
experiences.
In a vulnerable young person, numerous negative life events may spark depressionfor
example, failing at something important, parental divorce, or the end of a close friendship or romantic
partnership.
Girls are more prone to depression than boys. Greater stress reactivity and gender-typed coping
stylespassivity, dependency, and tendency to ruminateseem to be involved.
Girls with either an androgynous or a masculine gender identity show low rates of depressive
symptoms.
Profound depression in adolescence can lead to suicidal thoughts, which all too often are
translated into action.
The US suicide rate increases from childhood into middle adulthood, but it jumps sharply at
adolescence.
Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among American youths. For unexplained reasons,
rates of adolescent suicide vary widely among industrialized nations.
Despite girls' higher rates of depression, the number of boys who kill themselves exceeds the
number of girls by a ratio of over 4 to 1.
African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanics have slightly lower suicide rates than
European Americans; recently, however, suicide has risen among African-American adolescent boys.
Native-American youths commit suicide at rates two to six times national averages, probably
influenced by high rates of profound family poverty, school failure, alcohol and drug abuse, and
depression.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youths attempt suicide three times as often as other
adolescents as a result of more family conflict, problems in romantic relationships, and peer victimization.
Suicide tends to occur in two types of young people: (1) adolescents who are highly intelligent but
solitary, withdrawn, and unable to meet their own standards and (2) teenagers who show antisocial
tendencies, are hostile and aggressive toward others, and also turn their anger and disappointment
inward.
Suicidal adolescents often have a family history of emotional and antisocial disorders and suicide,
and they are likely to have experienced multiple stressful life events.
In addition to the rise in depressed mood, teenagers' improved ability to plan ahead is a major
factor in the increase in suicide in adolescence.
Schools and community settings can help prevent suicides by providing knowledgeable,
approachable, and sympathetic adults, peer support groups, and information about telephone hot lines.
Treatments for depressed and suicidal adolescents range from antidepressant medication to
individual, family, and group therapy.
Gun-control legislation that limits adolescents' access to the most frequent and deadly suicide
method would reduce both suicides and teenage homicides
Because teenage suicides often occur in clusters, a watchful eye must be kept on vulnerable
adolescents after a suicide happens.
Since the mid-1990s, youth crime has declined sharply in the United States; 12- to 17-year-olds
currently account for about 9 percent of police arrests, one-third less than two decades ago.
Almost all teenagers, when asked directly and confidentially, admit to having committed some
sort of offenseusually a minor crime.
In many Western countries, delinquency rises over adolescence and then declines from the early
twenties on.
For most adolescents, a brush with the law does not forecast long-term antisocial behavior, but
repeated arrests are cause for concern.
Teenagers are responsible for 11 percent of violent offenses in the United States, and a small
percentage become recurrent offenders, who commit most of these crimes.
In adolescence, the gender gap in physical aggression widens: Serious violent crime is mostly the
domain of boys.
SES and ethnicity are strong predictors of arrests but only mildly related to teenagers' self-reports
of antisocial acts. Arrest rates reflect the tendency to arrest, charge, and punish low-SES ethnic minority
youths more often than their higher-SES white and Asian counterparts.
Difficult temperament, low intelligence, poor school performance, peer rejection in childhood, and
association with antisocial peers are linked to chronic delinquency.
Delinquent youths experience parenting that is low in warmth, high in conflict, and characterized
by harsh, inconsistent discipline and weak control and monitoring.
Ineffective parenting can promote and sustain children's aggression, especially with boys, who
are more active and impulsive.
Teenagers commit more crimes in poverty-stricken neighborhoods with poor-quality schools,
limited recreational and employment opportunities, and high adult criminality.
Effective prevention of delinquency must start early and take place at multiple levels.
Many US schools have implemented zero tolerance policies, which punish all disruptive and
threatening behavior. Yet no evidence exists that zero tolerance reduces misconduct.
Treating serious offenders requires an intensive, often lengthy approach, also directed at the
multiple determinants of delinquency.
In a program called multisystemic therapy, counselors combined family intervention with
integrating violent youths into positive school, work, and leisure activities and disengaging them from
deviant peers.
Compared with conventional services or individual therapy, this intervention led to improved
parentadolescent relationships and school performance, a dramatic, persisting drop in number of
arrests, andwhen participants did commit crimesa reduction in their severity.
DEVELOPMENT IN EARLY ADULTHOOD
Physical Development
I. BIOLOGICAL AGING IS UNDER WAY IN EARLY ADULTHOOD
Once body structures reach maximum capacity and efficiency, biological aging, or senescence,
begins. It can be modified substantially through behavioral and environmental interventions.
Some current explanations of aging emphasize the programmed effects of specific genes. Others
emphasize the cumulative effects of random events that damage genetic and cellular material.
The strongest evidence for a genetic programming theory of aging comes from research
showing that human cells have a lifespan of roughly 50 divisions; with each, a special type of DNA called
telomeres shortens, until so little remains that the cells no longer duplicate.
According to the random events theory, DNA in body cells is gradually damaged through
spontaneous or externally caused mutations, perhaps through the release of free radicals.
Although free-radical damage increases with age, no clear evidence indicates that it triggers
biological aging.
The cross-linkage theory of aging suggests that over time, protein fibers that make up the
body's connective tissue form bonds, or links, with one another; making tissue less elastic, which leads to
many negative outcomes.
Gradual failure of the endocrine system, such as a drop in growth hormone, can have widespread
effects on health and survival, but diet and physical activity can limit these aspects of biological aging.
Deterioration in immune system functioning contributes to many conditions of aging.

II. PHYSICAL CHANGES


During the twenties and thirties, changes in physical appearance and declines in body functioning
are gradual.
The prevalence of hypertension is 13 percent higher in the US black than in the US white
population; the African-American rate of death from heart disease is 40 percent higher.
In healthy individuals, the heart's ability to meet the body's oxygen requirements under typical
conditions does not change during adulthood, but heart performance during stressful exercise declines
with age.
In atherosclerosis, heavy deposits of plaque containing cholesterol and fats collect on the walls of
the main arteries.
Cardiovascular disease has decreased considerably since the mid-twentieth century, with a larger
drop during the past two decades due to a decline in cigarette smoking, improved diet and exercise, and
better medical detection and treatment of high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Like the heart, lung capacity decreases during physical exertion, contributing to older adults'
difficulty in meeting the body's oxygen needs while exercising.
The upper biological limit of motor capacity is reached in the first part of early adulthood; then, as
long as practice continues, speed drops only slightly from the mid-thirties into the sixties.
Sustained training leads to adaptations in body structures that minimize motor declines.
Biological aging accounts for only a small part of age-related declines. Lower levels of
performance largely reflect reduced capacities resulting from a less physically demanding lifestyle.
The immune response is the combined work of specialized cells that neutralize or destroy
antigens in the body, including two types of white blood cells: T cells, which attack antigens directly, and
B cells, which secrete antibodies into the bloodstream that permit the blood system to destroy them.
The capacity of the immune system to offer protection against disease increases through
adolescence and declines after age 20, partly due to changes in the thymus.
First births to women in their thirties have increased greatly over the past three decades.
The decline in female fertility from the late thirties through the forties is largely due to reduced
number and quality of ova.
In males, semen volume and sperm motility decrease gradually after age 35, and percentage of
abnormal sperm rises.
III. HEALTH AND FITNESS
Death rates in early adulthood in the United States for all causes exceed those of many other
industrialized nations. Contributing factors include higher rates of poverty and extreme obesity, more
lenient gun-control policies, and historical lack of universal health insurance.
Income, education, and occupational status show strong, continuous relationships with almost
every disease and health indicator, and SES largely accounts for the sizable health advantage of US
white over ethnic minority adults.
Poor health in childhood affects health in adulthood, amplifying SES differences in health with
age.
The living conditions that nations and communities provide combine with those people create for
themselves to affect physical aging.
An abundance of food, combined with Americans' heavily scheduled lives, has contributed to
widespread overweight and obesity.
Obesity has increased dramatically in many Western nations and is on the rise in the developing
world.
Heredity makes some people more vulnerable to obesity than others, but environmental
pressures underlie the rising rates of obesity in industrialized nations.
Between ages 25 and 50, some weight gain reflects a gradual decline in basal metabolic rate
(BMR), but excess weight is strongly associated with serious health problems and with early death.
Social discrimination against overweight adults has increased since the mid-1990s, with serious
physical and mental health consequences.
Treatment for obesity should promote lasting behavior change and should include (1) a lifestyle
change to a nutritious diet lower in calories, plus regular exercise; (2) training participants to keep an
accurate record of food intake and body weight; (3) social support; (4) teaching problem-solving skills;
and (5) extended intervention.
The US government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting intake of saturated
fat but place no dietary limits on healthy, unsaturated fats.
Research indicates that saturated fat plays a role in the age-related rise in cardiovascular
disease, breast cancer, and colon cancer, whereas consuming unsaturated fat is linked to reduced
cardiovascular disease mortality.
Saturated fat consumption is an important contributor to the high rate of heart disease in the US
black population.

Regular exercise reduces body fat, builds muscle, and fosters resistance to disease. Physical
activity is linked to reduced incidence of several types of cancer, especially breast and colon cancer.
Exercise strengthens the heart muscle, decreases blood pressure, and produces good
cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins, or HDLs) that helps remove bad cholesterol (low-density
lipoproteins, or LDLs) from the artery walls.
Physical activity reduces anxiety and depression and improves mood, alertness, and energy.
By enhancing neural activity in the cerebral cortex, exercise improves overall cognitive
functioning.
During early adulthood, young people are more likely than younger or older individuals to smoke
cigarettes, chew tobacco, use marijuana, and take stimulants.
Risks include brain damage, lasting impairments in mental functioning, and liver, kidney, and
heart failure resulting in death.
Tobacco, marijuana, and alcohol are the most commonly abused substances.
Dissemination of information on the harmful effects of cigarette smoking has helped reduce its
prevalence among US adults from 40 percent 50 years ago to 17 percent today, but smoking has
declined very slowly.
College students' cigarette smoking has decreased over the past 15 years, but their use of other
forms of tobacco and, especially, of marijuana has risen.
Although many young people view marijuana as safe, 30 percent of users experience problematic
withdrawal symptoms that result in dependency.
The ingredients of cigarette smoke damage the retina, blood vessels, skin, and bones, as well as
a decrease in reserve ova in women and reduced sperm count in men.
Other deadly outcomes include increased risk of heart attack, stroke, acute leukemia, melanoma,
and cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, lungs, stomach, pancreas, kidneys, and bladder.
Cigarette smoking is the single most important preventable cause of death in industrialized
nations. Too few treatments last long enough, effectively combine counseling with medications that
reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms, and teach skills for avoiding relapse.
Twin and adoption studies support a genetic contribution to alcoholism, but half of alcoholics have
no family history of problem drinking.
Alcoholism crosses SES and ethnic lines but is less common in cultures where alcohol is a
traditional part of religious or ceremonial activities.
Poverty, hopelessness, and a history of physical or sexual abuse in childhood increase the risk of
excessive drinking.
Alcohol acts as a depressant, impairing the brain's ability to control thought and action.
The best-known complication of chronic alcohol use is liver disease; over time, alcohol causes
brain damage.
About one-third of fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States involve drivers who have been
drinking, and alcohol frequently plays a part in sexual coercion.
The most successful treatments combine personal and family counseling, group support, and
aversion therapy.
At the end of the teenage years, nearly 70 percent of US young people have had sexual
intercourse; by age 25, nearly all have done so.
Compared with earlier generations, contemporary adults display a wider range of sexual choices
and lifestyles, but monogamous, emotionally committed couples are more typical than couples who
engage in casual sex.
Over the past decade, the Internet has become an increasingly popular way to initiate
relationships.
Online dating services sometimes undermine the chances of forming a successful relationship, in
part because having a large pool of potential partners can reduce willingness to make a commitment.
The techniques that matching sites claim to use to pair partners have not demonstrated any
greater success than conventional off-line means of introducing people.
Lifetime number of sexual partners reported by American adults has risen steadily over the past
several decades.
Today, dating often leads to cohabitation, which typically leads either to marriage or to breakup;
also, people are marrying later, and the divorce rate remains high, creating more opportunities for new
partners.
The college years are marked by an increase in hookups and friends with benefits
uncommitted sexual encounters that often have negative emotional consequences, more so for women.
Americans do not have sex nearly as often as the media would suggest; frequency of sexual
activity is affected by (1) age, (2) whether people are cohabiting or married, and (3) how long the couple
has been together.
More than 80 percent of adults in committed relationships (and 88 percent of married couples)
report feeling extremely physically and emotionally satisfied.
A minority of US adultswomen more often than menreport persistent sexual problems.

Sexual difficulties are associated with low SES and psychological stress and are more common
among people who are not married, have had many partners, and have experienced sexual abuse during
childhood or sexual coercion in adulthood.
The majority of Americans support civil liberties and equal employment opportunities for lesbians,
gay men, and bisexuals.
Attitudes toward sex and romantic relationships between adults of the same sex have gradually
become more accepting; members of the Millennial generation, born after 1980, are the most accepting of
same-sex marriage.
An estimated 3.8 percent of US men and women identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or
transgender.
Sexual minorities tend to live in or near large cities, where many others share their sexual
orientation, or in college towns, where attitudes are more accepting.
An estimated 19 percent of US women, sometime in their lives, have endured rape; about 45
percent have experienced other forms of sexual coercion. The majority of victims were first victimized
before age 25.
Sexual coercion crosses SES and ethnic lines; men who engage in sexual coercion tend to be
manipulative of others, lack empathy and remorse, pursue casual sexual relationships rather than
emotional intimacy, approve of violence against women, accept rape myths, and interpret women's social
behaviors inaccurately.
In cultures in which men are taught from an early age to be dominant, competitive, and
aggressive and women to be submissive and cooperative, the themes of rape are reinforced.
About 2 percent of US men have been victims of rape, and 23 percent victims of other forms of
sexual coercion.
Psychological reactions to rape resemble those of survivors of extreme trauma and include
shock, confusion, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Victims of sexual crimes report more symptoms of illness across almost all body systems and are
more likely to engage in negative health behaviors, including smoking and alcohol use.
Community services, including safe houses, crisis hotlines, support groups, and legal assistance,
exist to help women take refuge from abusive partners, but most are underfunded, and few services exist
for victimized men.
Therapy is vitalboth individual treatment to reduce anxiety and depression and group sessions
to counter isolation and self-blame.
Psychological stress, measured in terms of adverse social conditions, traumatic experiences,
negative life events, or daily hassles, is related to a wide variety of unfavorable health outcomes.
As SES decreases, exposure to diverse stressors risesan association that plays an important
role in the strong connection between low SES and poor health.
Chronic stress is linked to overweight and obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and atherosclerosis; in
susceptible individuals, acute stress can trigger cardiac events.
Because of the stress-buffering effect of social support, helping young adults establish and
maintain satisfying, caring social ties is an important health intervention.
Cognitive Development
IV. CHANGES IN THE STRUCTURE OF THOUGHT
The cognitive changes of early adulthood are supported by further development of the prefrontal
cortex and its connections with other brain regions.
fMRI evidence reveals that as young adults become increasingly proficient in a chosen field of
endeavor, regions of the cerebral cortex specialized for those activities undergo further experience-
dependent brain growth.
Researchers who have studied postformal thoughtcognitive development beyond Piaget's
formal operational stagehave observed that personal effort and social experiences combine to spark
increasingly rational, flexible, and practical ways of thinking.
William Perry's work provided the starting point for an expanding research literature on the
development of epistemic cognition.
Perry found that whereas younger college students engaged in dualistic thinking, older students
had moved toward relativistic thinking. Eventually, the most mature individuals progress to
commitment within relativistic thinking.
Advances in epistemic cognition depend on further gains in metacognition, which are likely to
occur in situations that challenge young people's perspectives and induce them to consider the rationality
of their thought processes.
In tackling challenging, ill-structured problems, interaction among individuals who are roughly
equal in knowledge and authority prevents acceptance of another's reasoning simply because of greater
power or expertise.
According to Gisella Labouvie-Vief, adulthood involves movement from hypothetical to pragmatic
thought.
As adults select one path out of many alternatives, they become more aware of the constraints of
everyday life. As they balance various roles, they develop ways of thinking that thrive on imperfection and
compromise.
Labouvie-Vief found that from adolescence through middle adulthood, people gained in
cognitive-affective complexity.
V. EXPERTISE AND CREATIVITY
Expertiseacquisition of extensive knowledge in a field or endeavorhas a profound effect on
information processing.
Compared with novices, experts remember and reason more quickly and effectively, know more
domain-specific concepts, and represent them in richer ways.
Unlike novices, experts approach problems with underlying principles in mind, using what they
know to arrive at many solutions automatically. When a problem is challenging, they systematically
analyze and categorize elements.
Expertise is necessary for mature creativity, which requires the ability to formulate new, culturally
meaningful problems and to ask significant questions that have not been posed before.
Case studies support the 10-year rule in development of master-level creativitya decade
between initial exposure to a field and sufficient expertise to produce a creative work.
When personal and situational factors jointly promote it, creativity can continue well into old age.
VI. THE COLLEGE EXPERIENCE
Nearly 70 percent of US recent high school graduates enrolled in an institution of higher
education.
Research reveals broad psychological changes from the first year of college to the senior year.
College students become better at reasoning about problems that have no clear solution,
identifying the strengths and weaknesses of opposing sides of complex issues, and reflecting on the
quality of their thinking.
They also show increased interest in literature, the performing arts, and philosophical and
historical issues and greater tolerance for racial and ethnic diversity.
College influences moral reasoning by fostering concern with individual rights and human welfare,
sometimes expressed in political activism.
Through exposure to multiple worldviews, college students develop greater self-understanding,
enhanced self-esteem, and a firmer sense of identity.
The more students study and interact with both faculty and diverse peers in academic and
extracurricular settings, the more they benefit cognitively.
The United States ranks only twelfth in the world in percentage of young adults with college
degrees, far behind such countries as Canada, Japan, and South Korea.
Dropout rates are higher in colleges with less selective admission requirements, and ethnic
minority students from low-SES families are at increased risk.
Programs that forge bonds between teachers and students and that provide academic support,
counseling to address personal challenges, part-time work opportunities, and meaningful extracurricular
roles increase retention.
Membership in campus-based organizations helps to strengthen minority students' sense of
belonging.
VII. VOCATIONAL CHOICE
In societies with an abundance of career possibilities, occupational choice is a gradual process
that begins early.
Major theorists view the young person as moving through several periods of vocational
development: (1) the fantasy period (early and middle childhood), (2) the tentative period (ages 11 to
16), and (3) the realistic period (late teens and early twenties).
In the realistic period, further exploration eventually leads to crystallization, then to choice of an
occupation.
Occupational choice is the result of a dynamic interaction between person and environment.
John Holland identified six personality types that affect vocational choice: (1) investigative, (2)
social, (3) realistic, (4) artistic, (5) conventional, and (6) enterprising.
Many people are blends of several personality types and can do well at more than one kind of
occupation.
Career decisions are made in the context of family influences, financial resources, educational
and job opportunities, and current life circumstances.
Years of schooling completed is a powerful predictor of occupational status.
Higher-SES parents are more likely to give their children important information about the worlds
of education and work and to have connections with people who can help the young person attain a high-
status position.
Parental guidance, pressure to do well in school, college-going expectations, and encouragement toward
high-status occupations predict confidence in career choice and educational and career attainment
beyond SES.
Young adults preparing for careers requiring extensive education often report that teachers
influenced their choice.
Women's progress in entering and excelling at male-dominated professions has been slow, and
in virtually all fields, women's achievements lag behind those of men.
Although girls earn higher grades than boys, they reach secondary school less confident of their
abilities, more likely to underestimate their achievement, and less likely to express interest in STEM
careers.
In college, many women question their capacity and opportunities to succeed in male-dominated
fields and worry about combining a highly demanding career with family responsibilities.
Contact with women scientists and engineers enhances female students' interest in and
expectancies for success in STEM fields.
Approximately one-third of US young people graduate from high school with no current plans to
go to college.
Nearly 20 percent of US recent high school graduates who do not continue their education are
unemployed. When they do find work, most hold low-paid, unskilled jobs.
Unlike European nations, the United States has no widespread training systems for non-college-
bound youths, so most graduate without work-related skills.
In Germany, young people who do not go to a college-preparatory high school have access to a
workstudy apprenticeship system for entering business and industry.
The success of the German system and of similar systems elsewhere in Europe suggests that a
national apprenticeship program would improve the transition from high school to work for US young
people.
A GRADUAL TRANSITION: EMERGING ADULTHOOD
In many industrialized nations, the transition to adult roles has become so delayed and
prolonged that it has spawned a new transitional period, from the late teens to the mid- to late
twenties, called emerging adulthood.
Not yet immersed in adult roles, many emerging adults can engage in activities that
promote identity development.
Because many aspects of the life course that were once socially structured are
increasingly left to individual decision, emerging adults are required to individualize their
identities.
Most emerging adults say that constructing a worldview is essential for attaining adult
status.
Today's emerging adults have a stronger pluralistic orientation than young people in
previous generations; whether or not they are involved in organized religion, many begin to
construct their own individualized faith.
Emerging adulthood is limited to cultures that postpone entry into adult roles until the
twenties. In developing nations, only a privileged minority experience it. In industrialized nations,
young people who experience emerging adulthood typically come from families sufficiently well-
off to provide financial support.
Because of its strong association with SES and higher education, some researchers
reject the notion of emerging adulthood as a distinct life stage.
Young people who flourish during emerging adulthood tend to have personal attributes
and social supports associated with resilience, including empathic, autonomy-supportive
parenting.
Parental overprotection is linked to indicators of poor adjustment, and helicopter
parenting likely interferes with emerging adults' ability to acquire the skills they need to act on
their own.
II. Erikson's Theory: Intimacy versus Isolation
Erikson's psychological conflict of early adulthood is intimacy versus isolation, evident
in the young person's thoughts and feelings about making a long-term commitment to an
intimate partner and in close friendships.
Maturity involves balancing the desire for self-determination with the desire for intimacy.
In friendships and work ties, young people who have achieved intimacy are cooperative,
agreeable, communicative, and accepting of differences in background and values.
Erikson believed that successful resolution of intimacy versus isolation prepares the
individual for middle adulthood, which focuses on generativitycaring for the next generation
and helping to improve society.
III. OTHER THEORIES OF ADULT PSYCHOSOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Daniel Levinson depicted adult development as a sequence of seasons, coinciding with
Erikson's stages and separated by transitions.
George Vaillant, also building on Erikson's stages, followed the development of men
born in the 1920s; in a subsequent study, he identified a similar series of changes in a sample
of well-educated women.
The developmental patterns Levinson and Vaillant described are based largely on
interviews with people born in the first few decades of the twentieth century.
Development is far more variable today, and researchers increasingly doubt that adult
psychosocial changes can be organized into distinct stages.
All societies have some kind of social clock. Today, large departures from social-clock
life events have become common, sometimes leading to intergenerational tensions.
Young adults may feel distressed if their own timing of major milestones is not widely
shared by their contemporaries or supported by current public policies.
IV. CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS
In addition to romantic love, young adults' need for intimacy can be satisfied through
relationships with friends, siblings, and co-workers.
Intimate partners generally meet in places where they are likely to find people of their
own age, level of education, ethnicity, and religion, or they connect through online dating
services.
People usually select partners who resemble themselves in attitudes, personality,
educational plans, intelligence, mental health, physical attractiveness, and even height.
Women assign greater weight to financial status, intelligence, ambition, and moral
character, whereas men emphasize physical attractiveness and domestic skillspreferences
that can be explained from an evolutionary perspective and also in terms of gender roles.
Both sexes place a high value on attributes that contribute to relationship satisfaction:
mutual attraction, caring, emotional maturity, and a pleasing disposition.
Memories of the early parentchild bond also influence choice of an intimate partner and
the quality of romantic relationships.
Robert Sternberg's triangular theory of love identifies three componentspassion,
intimacy, and commitmentthat shift in emphasis as romantic relationships develop.
Passionate love is strong at the beginning of a relationship but gradually declines in
favor of intimacy and commitment, which form the basis for companionate love and eventually
for compassionate love, based on concern for the other's well-being.
In the transformation from a passionate to a companionate and compassionate bond,
commitment may be the component of love that determines whether a relationship survives.
Passion became the dominant basis for marriage in twentieth-century Western nations
as the value of individualism strengthened.
In Eastern cultures, lifelong dependency is viewed positively and the self is defined
through role relationships.
Even in countries where arranged marriages are still fairly common, parents and
prospective brides and grooms consult one another before moving forward.
Friends in adulthood enhance self-esteem and psychological well-being and provide
support in times of stress.
Because of a dramatic rise in social media use, today's friendships are no longer as
constrained by physical proximity.
Women's same-sex friendships are more intimate than men's; barriers to intimacy
between male friends include competitiveness, which may make men unwilling to disclose
weaknesses.
Lesbian and gay romantic relationships often develop out of close same-sex friendships.
From the college years through career exploration and settling into work roles, other-sex
friendships increase. After marriage, they decline for men but continue to rise for women, who
more often form them in the workplace.
When family experiences have been positive, relationships between adult siblings can
be especially close and are important sources of psychological well-being.
V. THE FAMILY LIFE CYCLE
The family life cycle refers to the series of phases characterizing the development of
most families around the world.
The average age of leaving the parental home has risen since the 1960s; departures for
education tend to occur at earlier ages than those for full-time work and marriage.
Slightly over half of US 18- to 25-year-olds return to their parents' home for brief periods
after first leaving.
Among African-American, Hispanic, and Native-American groups, poverty and a cultural
tradition of extended-family living lead to markedly lower rates of leaving home.
Unmarried Asian young adults tend to live with their parents, but the longer Asian
families have lived in the United States, the more likely young people are to move out before
marriage.
When young adults feel securely attached to parents and well-prepared for
independence, departure from the home is linked to more satisfying parentchild interaction and
successful transition to adult roles.
The average age of first marriage in the United States has risen to 27 for women and 29
for men today. Just 16 percent of US 18- to 29-year-olds are married, compared to 60 percent a
half-century ago.
Same-sex marriages are recognized nationwide in 20 countries, including the United
States.
Although marriage partners are usually similar in religious and ethnic background, the
US rate of new marriages between partners of different races is now 12 percent, double the rate
in 1980.
Because of increased opportunities for interracial contact and more positive attitudes
toward intermarriage, highly educated young adults are more likely than their less educated
counterparts to marry partners of another race or ethnicity.
Young people who marry in their teens to mid-twenties are more likely to divorce than
those who marry later.
Traditional marriages, involving a clear division of roles, still exist in Western nations,
but in recent decades, many women who focused on motherhood while their children were
young have been returning to the work force later.
In egalitarian marriages, partners share power and authority, balancing the time and
energy they devote to their occupations, their children, and their relationship.
In Western nations, men in dual-earner marriages participate much more in child care
than in the past, but on average they put in just 60 percent of weekly hours that mothers do.
Egalitarian relationships are more common in same-sex than in other-sex relationships.
Family size in industrialized nations has declined to an all-time low, but the vast majority
of married people still embrace parenthood as one of life's most meaningful experiences.
Factors influencing the choice of parenthood include financial circumstances, personal
and religious values, career goals, health conditions, and availability of supportive government
and workplace family policies.
In Western nations, childbearing motivations have changed over time, increasingly
emphasizing individual fulfillment and de-emphasizing obligation to society.
Highly rated reasons for having children include the warm, affectionate relationship and
opportunities for care and teaching that children provide, as well as social returns and a sense
of future continuity.
Disadvantages of parenthood most often cited include concerns about role overload,
doubts about readiness for parenthood, worries about bringing up children in a troubled world,
and the financial strains of child rearing.
For most new parents, the arrival of a baby does not cause significant marital strain, but
troubled marriages usually become even more distressed after childbirth.
In dual-earner marriages, the larger the difference in men's and women's caregiving
responsibilities, the greater the decline in marital satisfaction after childbirth, especially for
women.
Postponing childbearing until the late twenties or thirties eases the transition to
parenthood.
Well-functioning families with a newborn second child typically pull back from the
traditional division of responsibilities that occurred after the first birth.
Generous, paid employment leave is crucial for parents of newborns.
Parents who engage in effective coparenting are more likely to feel competent as
parents, use effective child-rearing practices, and have children who are developing well.
For employed parents, major struggles include finding good child care and taking time
off from work when their child is in need of emergency care.
Despite its challenges, parents report that rearing young children expands their
emotional capacities, makes life more meaningful, and enhances psychological well-being.
When children reach adolescence, parents must establish a revised relationship,
blending guidance with freedom and gradually loosening control.
New mothers often rely on parenting books, magazines, websites, and social media for
information on child rearing, as well as family members and networks of other women. Fathers
frequently turn to their partner for such advice.
Parent education courses can enhance knowledge of effective parenting practices,
improve parentchild interaction, and provide social support.
VI. THE DIVERSITY OF ADULT LIFESTYLES
The rate of never-married Americans age 25 and older has more than doubled since
1960, to 23 percent of men and 17 percent of women.
More young-adult men than women are single, but women are far more likely to remain
single for many years or their entire life.
More than one-third of African Americans age 25 and older have never marriedmore
than double the figure for European Americansbut many African Americans eventually marry
in their late thirties and forties, when black and white marriage rates come closer together.
Commonly mentioned advantages of singlehood are freedom and mobility; drawbacks
include loneliness, the dating grind, limited sexual and social life, and reduced sense of security.
Single men have more physical and mental health problems than single women, in part
because of the greater social support available to women through intimate same-sex
friendships.
Many single people go through a stressful period in their early thirties, when most of their
friends have married, and again in their mid-thirties, as the biological deadline for pregnancy
approaches.
A few single women decide to become parents through artificial insemination or a love
affair, and an increasing number of single people are adopting.
Among US young people, cohabitation is now the preferred mode of entry into an
intimate partnership, chosen by over 70 percent of couples age 30 and younger.
About 60 percent of American cohabiting unions break up within three years; in Western
Europe, where cohabiters express nearly the same level of commitment to each other as
married couples, only 6 to 16 percent dissolve.
Lesbian and gay cohabiters are exceptions to the high risk for breakup; the legal right to
marry is so recent in the United States that many already viewed their cohabiting relationships
as symbols of long-term commitment.
Childlessness among US women in their mid-forties increased from 10 percent in 1975
to 20 percent in 2006 but then declined to 15 percent in 2014, largely due to more educated,
career-focused women eventually opting for parenthood.
Some people are involuntarily childless because they did not find a partner with whom to
share parenthood or they could not conceive a child. Others, who are voluntarily childless, are
usually highly educated, have prestigious occupations, are very committed to their work, and
are less traditional in gender-role attitudes.
Voluntarily childless adults are just as content with their lives as parents who have warm
relationships with their children, but adults who cannot overcome infertility are likely to be
dissatisfied.
Divorce rates have declined over the past two decades, but 42 to 45 percent of US
marriages dissolve.
Nearly 60 percent of divorced adults remarry, but marital failure in the first few years is
greater than in first marriages.
The most obvious reason for divorce is a disrupted relationship, often because of an
ineffective problem-solving style.
Among the strongest predictors of divorce are infidelity, spending money foolishly, and
drinking or using drugs.
Parental divorce elevates risk of divorce in the next generation, in part because it
promotes child adjustment problems.
Poorly educated, economically disadvantaged couples who suffer multiple life stresses
are especially likely to split up.
American individualism contributes to the unusually high US divorce rate.
Immediately after separation, both men and women experience disrupted social
networks, a decline in social support, and increased anxiety and depression.
Finding a new partner contributes most to the psychological well-being of divorced
adults. It is more crucial for men, who adjust less well than women to living on their own.
On average, people remarry within four years of divorce, men somewhat faster than
women.
Remarriages are especially vulnerable to breakup; reasons include negative patterns of
interaction learned in the first marriage and stress resulting from stepfamily situations.
Blended families generally take 3 to 5 years to develop the connectedness and comfort
of intact biological families.
Stepmothers are especially likely to experience conflict, whereas stepfathers with
children of their own tend to establish positive bonds with stepchildren, especially stepsons,
more readily.
A caring relationship between remarried or cohabiting couples, sensitive relationship-
building behaviors by the stepparent, and cooperation from the biological parent all affect the
development of stepparentstepchild ties.
Establishing stepparentstepchild bonds is challenging, contributing to a higher divorce
rate for remarried couples with stepchildren than for those without them.
Today, about 40 percent of US births are to single mothers, more than double the
percentage in 1980, and more than 12 percent of US children live with a single parent who has
never married and does not have a partner.
Single motherhood is especially prevalent among African-American young women; more
than half of births to black mothers in their twenties are to women without a partner, compared
with about 14 percent of births to white women.
Never-married African-American mothers tap the extended family for help in rearing their
children.
For low-SES women, never-married parenthood generally increases financial hardship;
about half live in poverty.
Children of never-married mothers who lack a father's consistent warmth and
involvement show less favorable cognitive development and engage in more antisocial behavior
than children in low-SES, first-marriage families.
About 20 to 35 percent of lesbian couples and 5 to 15 percent of gay couples are
parents, most through previous heterosexual marriages, some through adoption, and a growing
number through reproductive technologies.
Research findings indicate that lesbian and gay parents are as committed to and
effective at child rearing as heterosexual parents and sometimes more so.
Children in lesbian and gay families do not differ from the children of heterosexual
parents in mental health, peer relations, gender-role behavior, or sexual orientation.
Overall, lesbian and gay families can be distinguished from other families mainly by
issues related to living in discriminatory contexts.
VII. CAREER DEVELOPMENT
Besides family life, vocational life is a vital domain of social development in early
adulthood.
The economic recession of 2007 to 2009 greatly increased the number of young people
in jobs that did not match their educational preparation.
Even when young adults enter their chosen field, initial experiences can be
discouraging. As a result, workers in their twenties typically change jobs several times.
Career progress often depends on the quality of a relationship with a mentor, most often
a professor or a senior colleague at work.
Women, especially those who are members of economically disadvantaged minorities,
remain concentrated in occupations that offer little opportunity for advancement, and they are
underrepresented in executive and management roles.
The overall difference between men's and women's earnings is smaller today than 30
years ago but remains considerable in the majority of industrialized countries, including the
United States.
In college, women more often major in education and social service fields, men in
higher-paying scientific and technical fields.
Many women enter and exit the labor market several times, or reduce their work hours
as they give birth to and rear children.
Low self-efficacy with respect to male-dominated fields also limits women's career
progress, and even women with high self-efficacy are less certain than their male counterparts
that they can overcome barriers to career success.
Mentoring by a senior-male executive predicts progress into management roles and pay
gains more strongly for women in male-dominated industries than for men.
Despite laws guaranteeing equality of opportunity, research involving teams of white and
nonwhite job applicants reveals that racial and ethnic bias in career opportunities remains
strong.
Ethnic minority women often must surmount combined gender and racial discrimination
to realize their career potential; those who succeed frequently display an unusually high sense
of self-efficacy.
The majority of women with children are in the work force, most in dual-earner marriages
or cohabiting relationships.
More women than men report moderate to high levels of stress in trying to meet both
work and family responsibilities.
MIDDLE ADULTHOOD
Physical Development
I. PHYSICAL CHANGES
Between ages 40 and 60, the eye rapidly becomes more farsighted, leading to presbyopia.
Middle-aged adults are at increased risk of glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness.
About 14 percent of Americans between ages 45 and 64 suffer from hearing loss, often as a
result of presbycusis.
Changes in the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis lead the skin to wrinkle, loosen, and feel dry.
Both men and women tend to gain weight and often experience an increase in body fat and a loss
of lean body mass.
People must gradually reduce caloric intake to adjust for the age-related decline in basal
metabolic rate.
Weight-bearing exercise that includes resistance training can offset both excess weight and
muscle loss.
The mineral content of bones declines, so they become more porous, leading to a gradual loss in
bone density, especially among women.
As loss of bone strength causes the disks in the spinal column to collapse, height drops and
bones fracture more easily and heal more slowly.
The climacteric brings an end to reproductive capacity in women and leads to diminished fertility
in men.
Women's estrogen production drops gradually over a 10-year period, concluding with
menopause.
The period leading up to and following menopause is often accompanied by symptoms that
include mood fluctuations and hot flashes.
Hormone therapy is highly successful at counteracting menopausal symptoms but also carries
risks of serious negative consequences. Alternative treatments include gabapentin and several
antidepressant drugs.
Women who wanted marriage and children but did not attain these goals may find menopause
traumatic, but many others find menopause to be little or no trouble and report improved quality of life.
Research suggests that African-American women hold favorable views of menopause.
Menopause is not just a hormonal event but is also affected by cultural beliefs and practices.
Because testosterone production declines with age, more stimulation is required for an erection,
and it may be harder to maintain. Drugs that increase blood flow to the penis offer temporary relief from
erectile dysfunction.
II. HEALTH AND FITNESS
About 85 percent of Americans in midlife rate their health as excellent or good.
Stability of sexual activity in midlife is far more typical than dramatic change.
The leading causes of US deaths in middle age are cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Unintentional injuries occur at a lower rate than in early adulthood, largely because motor vehicle
collisions decline.
Economic disadvantage is a strong predictor of poor health and premature death in midlife.
Personality traits that magnify stress, especially hostility and anger, are serious threats to health
in midlife.
From early to middle adulthood, the death rate due to cancer multiplies tenfold.
Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths in both genders, worldwide, but its
incidence has dropped with declines in smoking.
Cancer occurs when a cell's genetic program is disrupted, leading to uncontrolled growth and
spread of abnormal cells that crowd out normal tissues and organs.
Cancer-causing mutations can be either germline or somatic.
Cancer death rates increase sharply as SES decreases and are especially high among African
Americans.
Overall, a complex interaction of heredity, biological aging, and environment contributes to
cancer.
About 25 percent of middle-aged Americans who die each year succumb to cardiovascular
disease.
Indicators of cardiovascular disease include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and
atherosclerosis, as well as heart attack, arrhythmia, and angina pectoris.
Treatments include coronary bypass surgery, medication, pacemakers to regulate heart rhythm,
and angioplasty.
Because heart disease is often viewed as a male problem, women's unique symptoms are
frequently overlooked, and women are less likely to be offered drugs or costly, invasive therapies.
Osteoporosis, which affects 10 percent of US adults age 50 and older, greatly magnifies the risk
of bone fractures.
Risk factors include heredity as well as the drop in estrogen associated with menopause.
Major bone fractures often lead to permanent loss in function and quality of life.
Treatments include a diet enriched with calcium and vitamin D, weight-bearing exercise,
resistance training, and
bone-strengthening medications.
Researchers found that in 35- to 59-year-old men, the Type A behavior pattern was associated
with a greater risk of developing heart disease, but later studies often failed to confirm these results.
Current evidence pinpoints hostility, especially expressed hostility, as the toxic ingredient of
Type A.
III. ADAPTING TO THE PHYSICAL CHALLENGES OF MIDLIFE
Stress management in middle adulthood can limit the age-related rise in illness and, when
disease strikes, reduce its severity.
Two general strategies for coping with stress are problem-centered coping and emotion-centered
coping.
People tend to cope with stress more effectively as they move from early to middle adulthood.
When middle-aged adults surmount a highly stressful experience, they often report lasting
personal benefits.
More than half of US middle-aged adults are sedentary, and among those who stay active, fewer
than 18 percent engage in nationally recommended levels of leisure-time physical activity and resistance
exercises.
Self-efficacy is vital in adopting, maintaining, and exerting oneself in an exercise regimen.
Accessible, attractive, and safe exercise environments and frequent opportunities to observe
others using them promote physical activity.
Low-SES adults often mention inconvenient access to facilities, expense, unsafe neighborhoods,
and unclean streets as barriers to exerciseimportant reasons that activity level declines sharply with
SES.
Hardiness refers to a set of personal qualities that, together, make some individuals better able
than others to cope adaptively with stress.
Hardy individuals regard most experiences as controllable; display a committed, involved
approach to daily activities; and view stressful changes as challenges.
High-hardy individuals are likely to use active, problem-centered coping strategies in situations
they can control, whereas low-hardy people more often use emotion-centered and avoidant coping
strategies.
Negative stereotypes of aging are more likely to be applied to women than to men. At one time in
our evolutionary history, this double standard may have been adaptive, but it has become irrelevant in the
modern world.
Cognitive Development
IV. CHANGES IN MENTAL ABILITIES
Although many early cross-sectional studies showed a peak in performance at age 35 followed by
a steep drop into old age, longitudinal research starting in the 1920s revealed an age-related increase in
performance.
Cohort effects are largely responsible for this difference; in cross-sectional research, each new
generation experienced better health and education and more cognitively stimulating everyday
experiences than the one before it.
Crystallized intelligenceskills that depend on accumulated knowledge and experience, good
judgment, and mastery of social conventionsincreases steadily through middle adulthood.
Fluid intelligence, which depends more heavily on information-processing skills, begins to
decline in the twenties.
In Schaie's Seattle Longitudinal Study, the five factors that gained in early and middle adulthood
include both crystallized and fluid skills. Schaie's findings confirmed that middle-aged adults are
intellectually in their prime.
A sixth ability, perceptual speed, decreased from the twenties to the late eighties.
Late in life, fluid factors show greater decrements than crystallized factors.
Some theorists believe that a general slowing of central nervous system functioning underlies
nearly all age-related declines in cognitive performance.
Gains followed by stability in crystallized abilities, despite a much earlier decline in fluid
intelligence, may mean that the decrease in basic processing is not great enough to affect many well-
practiced performances until quite late in life.
Adults often compensate for cognitive limitations by drawing on their cognitive strengths, or they
accommodate, shifting to activities that depend less on cognitive efficiency and more on accumulated
knowledge.
When the baby-boom generation is compared with the previous generation at the same age,
cohort effects are evident, reflecting generational advances in education, technology, environmental
stimulation, and health care.
V. INFORMATION PROCESSING
As processing speed slows, basic components of executive function decline.
Researchers agree that changes in the brain are responsible for this age-related slowing of
cognitive processing but disagree on the precise explanation.
Mounting evidence indicates that in healthy older adults, extent of myelin breakdown predicts
decrements in reaction time and other cognitive abilities.
Another approach to age-related cognitive slowing suggests that older adults experience greater
loss of information as it moves through the cognitive system, so the whole system must slow down to
inspect and interpret the information.
Processing speed predicts adults' performance on many tests of complex abilities, such as tests
of memory, reasoning, and problem solving, with relationships greater for fluid- than crystallized-ability
items.
Correlations between processing speed and other cognitive performances strengthen with age,
yet processing speed correlates only moderately with older adults' performance, including fluid-ability
tasks.
Other factors, such as declines in executive function, especially working-memory capacity, also
predict diverse age-related cognitive performances.
Disagreement persists over whether age-related cognitive changes have one common cause
(best represented by processing speed) or multiple independent causes.
Processing speed is a weak predictor of the skill with which older adults perform complex, familiar
tasks in everyday life.
Because older adults find ways to compensate for cognitive slowing on familiar tasks, their
reaction time is considerably better on verbal than on nonverbal items.
All three components of executive function decline with age.
Verbal working memory suffers much less than spatial working memory.
Declines in working memory are strongly related to the slowdown in information processing with
age as well as to age-related deficits in inhibition and greater difficulty in flexibly shifting one's focus of
attention.
People highly experienced in attending to critical information and performing several tasks at
once show smaller declines in inhibition and task-switching with age.
Training induces improvement in executive function skills but does not close the gap between
younger and older adults.
Older adults' ability to recall studied information is impaired relative to younger adults', a change
affected by a decline in use of memory strategies as well as by reduced working-memory capacity.
Memory strategies of organization and elaboration are applied less often and less effectively with
age.
When given training in strategic memorizing, middle-aged and older people show improved
performance over long periods.
Assessing older adults in highly structured, constrained conditions substantially underestimates
what they can remember when given opportunities to pace and direct their own learning.
Semantic memory, procedural memory, and memory related to one's occupation either remain
unchanged or increase into midlife.
Aging has little impact on metacognitive knowledge and the ability to apply such knowledge to
improve learning.
Gains in expertise support middle-aged adults' continued cognitive growth in practical problem
solving.
Expertise reaches its height in midlife among individuals in all types of work.
Midlife advantages are also evident in solutions to everyday problems.
Creative accomplishment tends to peak in the late thirties or early forties and then declines, but
with considerable variation across individuals and disciplines. The quality of creativity may also change
with advancing age.
Youthful creativity in literature and the arts is often spontaneous and intensely emotional, while
creative works produced after age 40 often appear more deliberately thoughtful.
With age, many creators shift from generating unusual products to producing works that sum up
or integrate ideas.
Creativity in middle adulthood frequently reflects a transition from a largely egocentric concern
with self-expression to more altruistic goals.
Cognitive gains in middle adulthood are especially likely in areas involving experience-based
buildup and transformation of knowledge and skills.
VII. ADULT LEARNERS: BECOMING A STUDENT IN MIDLIFE
During the past three decades, students age 25 and older in US colleges and universities
increased from 27 to
40 percent of total enrollment.
Life transitions often trigger a return to formal education.
Nearly 60 percent of adult learners are women, who may experience anxiety related to negative
aging and gender stereotypes.
Role demands outside of school pull many returning women in conflicting directions.
When couples fail to rework divisions of household and child-care responsibilities to
accommodate the woman's return to school, marital satisfaction declines.
Social supports for returning students can make the difference between continuing in school and
dropping out.
Nontraditional students rarely require assistance in settling on career goals but often seek help in
choosing the most appropriate courses.
Students from low-SES backgrounds often need special assistance, such as academic tutoring
andin the case of ethnic minoritieshelp adjusting to styles of learning that are at odds with their
cultural background.
ERIKSON'S THEORY: GENERATIVITY VERSUS STAGNATION
The Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS) survey, conducted in the mid-
1990s, has contributed enormously to our understanding of midlife emotional and social
development and has greatly enriched our knowledge of the multidimensional and
multidirectional nature of midlife change.
Erikson's psychological conflict of midlife is called generativity versus stagnation.
Generativityreaching out to others in ways that give to and guide the next
generationexpands greatly in midlife.
Generative adults combine the need for self-expression with the need to integrate
personal goals with the welfare of the larger social world.
The negative outcome of midlife, stagnation, occurs when people become self-centered
and self-indulgent after attaining certain life goals.
Generativity is associated with more effective child rearing and with broad engagement
in community and society.
Compared with European Americans, African Americans more often engage in certain
types of generativity, expressing a stronger desire to leave a legacy to their broader community,
not just their immediate family.
II. OTHER THEORIES OF PSYCHOSOCIAL DEVELOPMENT IN MIDLIFE
In Levinson's view, adults in midlife confront four developmental tasks, each requiring
the individual to reconcile two opposing tendencies within the self: youngold, destruction
creation, masculinityfemininity, and engagementseparation.
People who flexibly modify their identities in response to age-related changes yet
maintain a sense of self-continuity are higher in self-esteem and life satisfaction.
Opportunities for advancement ease the transition to middle adulthood but are less
available to women than to men, and less available to individuals in blue-collar jobs.

In longitudinal research, Vaillant found that adults in their late fifties and sixties become
keepers of meaning, preoccupied by concern that the positive aspects of their culture survive.
In diverse societies, older people are guardians of traditions, laws, and cultural values.
Levinson reported that most people in his samples experienced a midlife crisis, but
Vaillant found slow and steady change rather than crisis.
Experiencing life regrets in middle adulthood is associated with less favorable
psychological well-being, but mature, contented adults are able to acknowledge lost
opportunities and disengage from them.
Life evaluation in midlife leads most people to make changes but not drastic alterations
of their lives.
The few midlifers who are in crisis typically have had early adulthoods in which gender
roles, family pressures, or low income and poverty severely limited their ability to realize
personal goals.
III. STABILITY AND CHANGE IN SELF-CONCEPT AND PERSONALITY
With age, possible selvesthe temporal dimension of self-conceptbecome fewer in
number, more modest and concrete, and less far-off in realization.
In research on adults in diverse cultures, three qualities increased from early to middle
adulthood: self-acceptance, autonomy, and environmental mastery.
Factors contributing to psychological well-being differ substantially among cohorts.
Among both women and men, those who were in step with prevailing social expectations
scored higher in well-being than those who were not.
Complex, integrated self-descriptions increase in midlife, predicting a stronger sense of
personal control over outcomes and good coping strategies.
Some US midlifers experience stressors so intense that their capacity to cope
disintegratestrends that may reflect strengthening associations among poverty, declining
health, and hopelessness that are unique to the United States.
Many studies report that gender identity seems to become more androgynous in midlife,
but more recent self-reports show little change throughout adulthood in men's and women's
endorsement of masculine and feminine traits.
A complex combination of social roles and life conditions underlies the midlife rise in
androgyny, which seems to have spread to other age periods in response to cultural changes
favoring gender equality.
In adulthood, androgyny is associated with high self-esteem, cognitive flexibility,
creativity, advanced moral reasoning, and psychosocial maturity.
The hundreds of personality traits on which individuals differ have been reduced to five
basic factorsthe big five personality traits: neuroticism, extroversion, openness to
experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.
Longitudinal and cross-sectional studies of men and women reveal that agreeableness
and conscientiousness increase from adolescence through middle age, whereas neuroticism
declines, and extroversion and openness to experience do not change or decrease slightly.
Individual differences in the big five traits are large and highly stable.
IV. RELATIONSHIPS AT MIDLIFE
The vast majority of middle-aged people live in families and tend to have a larger
number of close relationships than adults do during at any other period.
For most people, middle adulthood is a liberating time, offering a sense of completion
and opportunities to strengthen social ties and rekindle interests.
Increasing numbers of young adults are living at home due to role transitions and
financial challenges, yielding launchreturnrelaunch patterns for many middle-aged parents.
The contemporary social view of marriage in midlife is one of expansion and new
horizons.
The divorce rate of US adults age 50 and older has doubled over the past two decades.
For many women, marital breakup severely reduces standard of living, contributing to
the feminization of poverty.
Middle-aged women who weather divorce successfully tend to become more tolerant
and self-reliant, and both men and women reevaluate what they consider important in a healthy
relationship.
Most middle-aged parents adjust well to launching adult children in midlife.
Wide cultural variations exist in the social clock for children's departure.
Young-adult children who are off-time in development can prompt parental strain.
Although ethnic variations exist, most middle-aged parents provide more financial,
practical, emotional, and social support to their offspring than to their aging parents.
After children marry, parents must adjust to an enlarged family network that includes in-
laws.
When warm, supportive relationships endure, intimacy between parents and children
increases over the adult years.
Members of the middle generation, especially mothers, usually take on the role of
kinkeeper.
Currently, the average age of becoming a grandparent for US women is 49; for US men,
52.
Most people experience grandparenthood as a significant milestone, mentioning one or
more of the following gratifications: valued older adult, immortality through descendants,
reinvolvement with personal past, and indulgence.
Typically, relationships are closer between grandparents and grandchildren of the same
sex, especially between maternal grandmothers and granddaughters.
In low-income families, grandparents are more likely to perform essential activities, such
as help with caregiving.
In cultures that stress interdependence among generations of family members,
grandparents are absorbed into an extended-family household and become actively involved in
child rearing.
Nearly 2.7 million US grandparents live with grandchildren but apart from the children's
parents in skipped-generation families.
When family relationships are positive, grandparenthood provides an important means of
fulfilling personal and societal needs in midlife and beyond.
The number of middle-aged Americans with at least one living parent has risen from 10
percent in 1900 to more than 60 percent today.
Nearly two-thirds of US older adults live close to at least one of their children, with high
frequency of contact through visits and telephone calls.
Many adult children become more appreciative of their parents' strengths and
generosity.
In cultures that emphasize interdependence, parents often live with their married
children, but this tradition is declining in some parts of Asia and in the United States.
The more positive the history of the parentchild tie, the more help given and received.
Parentchild bonds often become closer as parents get older.
About one-fourth of US adult children provide unpaid care to an ill or disabled aging
adult.
The term sandwich generation is widely used to refer to the idea that middle-aged
adults must care for multiple generations above and below them at the same time.
Only a minority of middle-aged adults who care for aging parents have children younger
than age 18 at home, but many are providing assistance to young-adult children and to
grandchildren.
African-American, Asian-American, and Hispanic adults give aging parents more direct
care and financial help than European-American adults do.
In all ethnic groups, responsibility for providing care to aging parents falls more on
daughters than on sons.
Nearly one-fourth of American working women are caregivers; others quit their jobs to
provide care.
In later middle age, the sex difference in parental caregiving declines.
Parental caregiving can lead to role overload, high job absenteeism, exhaustion, inability
to concentrate, feelings of hostility, anxiety about aging, and high rates of depression, especially
for women.
In Denmark, Sweden, and Japan, a government-sponsored home helper system eases
the burden of parental care; in the United States, in-home care by a nonfamily caregiver is too
costly for most families.
Sibling contact and support decline from early to middle adulthood but rebound after age
70 for siblings living near each other.
Despite reduced contact, many siblings feel closer in midlife, often in response to major
life events.
In village societies, cultural norms reduce sibling conflict, thereby ensuring family
cooperation.
Many midlifers welcome the ease of keeping in touch with friends through social media,
and users have more offline close relationships.
For both sexes, number of friends declines from middle to late adulthood.
By midlife, family relationships and friendships support different aspects of psychological
well-being.
As middle-aged couples renew their sense of companionship, they may combine the
best of family and friendship.
V. VOCATIONAL LIFE
A. The large tide of baby boomers currently moving through midlife and the desire of most to
work longer than the previous generation means that the number of older workers will rise
dramatically over the next few decades.
A favorable transition from adult worker to older worker is hindered by negative
stereotypes of aging and, for women, by gender discrimination.
Job satisfaction increases in midlife in diverse nations and at all occupational levels.
The age-related increase in job satisfaction is weaker for women than for men and also
weaker for blue-collar than for white-collar workers.
Emotional engagement with work is psychologically healthy but can result in burnout.
Burnout is especially likely to occur in the helping professions, which place high
emotional demands on employees.
Burnout is linked to impaired attention and memory, severe depression, on-the-job
injuries, physical illnesses, poor job performance, absenteeism, and turnover.
To prevent burnout, employers can make sure workloads are reasonable, limit hours of
stressful work, and offer social support.
Training and on-the-job career counseling are less available to older workers, and older
employees may be less likely to volunteer for career development opportunities.
Personal and workplace characteristics influence willingness and opportunities to
engage in job training and updating.
Women and ethnic minorities have gradually gained in access to managerial careers but
remain a long distance from gender and ethnic equality; they still face a glass ceiling, or
invisible barrier to corporate advancement.
Many women go around the glass ceiling, leaving the corporate environment and going
into business for themselves.
Midlife career changes typically involve leaving one line of work for a related one,
whereas an extreme career shift usually signals a personal crisis.
Among blue-collar workers, midlife career shifts are seldom freely chosen, and
opportunities to shift to less physically demanding work are limited.
The average age of retirement in the United States declined over the twentieth century
but has risen over the past two decades from age 57 to 62; in other Western nations, average
retirement age hovers between 60 and 63.
For the healthy, active, long-lived baby-boom generation, up to one-fourth of their lives
may lie ahead after retirement.
Retirement leads to a loss of both income and status, but half or more of US adults over
age 50 have not engaged in any concrete retirement planning.
Financial planning is especially vital in the United States, where the federal government
does not offer a pension system that guarantees an adequate standard of living.
Planning for an active life has an even greater impact on happiness after retirement than
financial planning.
Compared with men, women do less planning for retirement, but this gender gap seems
to be narrowing.

Persistent stress caused by role overload is linked to poorer marital relations, less effective
parenting, child behavior problems, poorer job performance, and physical health problems.
Workplace supports can greatly reduce role overload, yielding substantial payoffs for
employers.
Effectively balancing work and family brings many benefitsa better standard of living,
improved work productivity, enhanced psychological well-being, and happier marriages.