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Part VI. Chapter Nineteen. Emerging Adulthood: Psychosocial Development. Identity Achieved Intimacy Emotional Development. Emerging Adulthood: Psychosocial Development.

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part vi

Part VI

Chapter Nineteen

Emerging Adulthood: Psychosocial Development

Identity Achieved


Emotional Development

Prepared by Madeleine Lacefield Tattoon, M.A.

emerging adulthood psychosocial development
Emerging Adulthood: Psychosocial Development

“In psychosocial development, even more than in physical or cognitive development, the hallmark of contemporary adult life is diversity.”

identity achieved
Identity Achieved
  • the search for identity begins at puberty, and continues through adulthood
  • each stage’s crises provides the foundation for each new era… as is evident in the emerging adult
identity achieved1
Identity Achieved
  • Ethnic Identity
    • in the U.S. and Canada 1/2 of the 18 – 25- year-olds are either children of immigrant or native-born Americas of African, Asian, Indian, or Latino descent
    • most individuals identify with very specific ethnic groups, e.g. Vietnamese, Pakistani, or Korean Americans, not simply Asian
identity achieved2
Identity Achieved
  • Ethnic Identity
    • emerging adults meet many more people of other backgrounds
    • European Americans also understand the importance of their own ethnicity, e.g., Ukrainian Catholic or Russian Jewish
identity achieved3
Identity Achieved
  • Ethnic Identity
    • everyone struggles to forge an identify, but immigrants combining their parent’s past and their future new social context often have conflicts
identity achieved4
Identity Achieved
  • Ethnic Identity
    • choices affect language, manners, romance, employment, neighborhood, religion, clothing, and values
identity achieved5
Identity Achieved
  • Ethnic Identity
    • is complex:
      • it is reciprocal, both a personal choice and a response to others
      • it depends on context and therefore changes with time and circumstances
      • it is multifaceted… emerging adults choose some attributes and rejects others
identity achieved6
Identity Achieved
  • Ethnic Identity
    • the changing contexts of life require ethnic identity to be reestablished at each phase… with one identity in adolescence, another in emerging adulthood
identity achieved7
Identity Achieved
  • Vocational Identity
    • is a part of growing up
    • college is considered an important step towards a career
    • a correlation between college education and income has been evident… few unskilled jobs have been created in the 21st century
identity achieved8
Identity Achieved
  • Vocational Identity
  • intimacy versus isolation
    • the sixth of Erikson’s eight stages of development… adults seek someone with whom to share their lives in an enduring and self-sacrificing commitment… without such commitment they risk profound aloneness and isolation
  • Friendship
    • friends defend against stress and provide joy throughout life
    • friends are chosen for understanding, tolerance, loyalty, affection, humor
    • friends are earned; they choose us, unlike family
  • Choosing Friends
    • gateway to attraction
      • the various qualities, such as appearance and proximity, that are prerequisites for the formation of close friendships and imitate relationships
        • physical attractiveness (even in platonic same-sex relationships)
        • apparent availability (willingness to talk, to do things together)
        • frequent exposure
        • absence of exclusion criteria (no unacceptable characteristics)
  • Choosing Friends
    • absence of exclusion criteria (no unacceptable characteristics)
      • exclusion criteria
        • a person’s reasons for omitting certain people from consideration as close friends or partners… exclusion criteria vary from one individual to another, but they are strong filters
  • Gender and Friendship
    • men and women have the same friendship needs
    • humans seek intimacy, lifelong
    • men tend to share activities and interests
    • women have friendships that are more intimate and emotional
  • Gender and Friendship
    • more men than women are homophobic
    • male-female differences may be cultural and seem to be less stereotyped among contemporary emerging adults
    • cross-sex friendships have potential problems
      • outsiders may believe the relationship is sexual
      • heterosexual couples tend to have fewer cross-sex friendships to avoid partner jealousy
      • keeping a sexual relationship “just friendly” is sometimes difficult
  • Romance and Relationships
    • couples are marrying later and divorcing more often than earlier cohorts
    • marriage is being postponed, not abandoned
  • Romance and Relationships
    • the relationship between love and marriage depends on the culture
      • In 1/3 of all nations, people fall in love and then decide to marry, with the young man asking the young woman
      • North Americans and Europeans expect to fall in love several times but not to marry until they are financially and emotionally independent
  • The Dimensions of Love
    • love is not a simple emotion
    • not something universally recognized as the glue that holds a relationship together
  • The Dimensions of Love
    • Sternberg described three distinct aspects of love
      • passion
      • intimacy
      • commitment
    • Sternberg believes that the relative presence or absence of these three components give rise to…
  • The Dimensions of Love
  • Living Together, Not Married
    • cohabitation
      • an arrangement in which a man and a women live together in committed sexual relationship but are not formally married
    • more than ½ of all emerging adults cohabit during emerging adulthood
  • Living Together, Not Married
    • cohabitation
      • many people think that living together is a good prelude for marriage; researchers suggest they are mistaken
      • contrary to widespread belief, living together before marriage does not preclude problems that might arise after a wedding
  • What Makes Relationships Work
    • marriage is not what it once was… a legal and religious arrangement that couple sought for sexual expression
      • most adults aged 20 to 30 are not yet married
      • compared to any year in the past, fewer adults are married (58%) and more are divorced
      • the divorce rate is ½ the marriage rate (3.4 compared to 7.8 per, 1000)—not primarily because more people are divorcing but because fewer people are marrying
  • What Makes Relationships Work
    • homogamy
      • marriage between individuals who tend to be similar with respect to such variables as attitudes, interest, goals, socioeconomic status, religion, ethnic background, and local origin
    • heterogamy
      • marriage between individuals who tend to be dissimilar with respect to such variables as attitudes, interest, goals, socioeconomic status, religion, ethnic background, and local origin
  • What Makes Relationships Work
    • social homogamy
      • the similarity of a couple’s leisure interests and role preferences
    • social exchange theory
      • the view that social behavior is a process of exchange aimed at maximizing the benefits one receives and minimizing the costs one pays
  • What Makes Relationships Work
    • Domestic Violence:
      • common couple violence
        • a form of abuse in which one or both partners of a couple engage in outbursts of verbal and physical attacks… also called situational couple violence
      • intimate terrorism
        • spouse abuse in which, most often, the husband uses violent methods of accelerating intensity to isolate, degrade, and punish the wife
  • Family Connections
    • “It is hard to overestimate the importance of the family at any time of the life span.”
      • families are “our most important individual support system,” a “problem-solving system”
  • Family Connections
    • made up of individuals, families are more than the people who belong to them
      • children grow
      • adults find support
      • everyone is part of an ethos (culture, philosophy, nation) that gives meaning to, and provides models for personal aspiration and decisions
emotional development
Emotional Development
  • during emerging adulthood people are at their peak:
    • strength
    • sexual impulse
    • health
    • cognitive growth
emotional development1
Emotional Development
  • Well-Being
    • allows emerging adults to
      • learn
      • explore
      • make friends
      • find lovers
      • take whatever job
      • journey
      • take risks
emotional development2
Emotional Development
  • Well-Being
    • positive emotions increase when emerging adults have close relationships with
      • friends
      • lovers
      • parents
      • undergo successful transitions
        • leaving home
        • graduating from college
        • securing a good job
emotional development3
Emotional Development
  • Well-Being
    • some of the depression and anxieties of adolescence lift when young people leave their high schools and distance themselves from dysfunctional families
emotional development4
Emotional Development
  • Psychopathology
    • not all young adults benefit from independence… some adults have too many choices and too little guidance
    • diathesis-stress model
      • the view that mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, are produced by the interaction of a genetic vulnerability (the diathesis) with stressful environmental factors and life events
emotional development5
Emotional Development
  • Substance Abuse Disorders
    • emerging adulthood is the most common time for substance abuse
    • 1 in 8 is addicted before age 27
    • substance abuse can be a common interest for friends and romantic partners
    • most sufferers manage to put an end to abuse without professional counseling
emotional development6
Emotional Development
  • Mood Disorders
    • before age 30, 8% of U.S. residents suffer from a mood disorder
      • major depression is the most common
    • major depression may be biochemical… imbalances in neurotransmitters and hormones (can also be triggered by an arrest, or romantic break-up)
emotional development7
Emotional Development
  • Anxiety Disorders
    • ¼ of U.S. residents below the age of 25, including
      • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
      • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
      • panic attacks
    • age and genetic vulnerability shape the symptoms of anxiety disorders
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Emotional Development
  • Schizophrenia
    • 1% of all adults experience at least one episode of schizophrenia
    • partly genetic
    • malnutrition when the brain is developing
    • symptoms typically begin in adolescence
      • diagnosis is most common from ages 18-24
emotional development9
Emotional Development
  • Continuity and Discontinuity
    • most emerging adults have strengths as well as liabilities
    • many overcome anxieties, substance abuse, etc… through “self-righting,” social support and ongoing maturation