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Age of young adulthood

20-40 years old

primary aging (senescence)

age-related physical changing that have a biological basis & are universally shared and are inevitable

secondary aging

age-related changes that are due to environmental influences, poor health habits or disease

What's the difference between primary & secondary aging?

-primary aging is unavoidable & secondary aging is preventable

-primary is largely uncontrollable & a consequence of biological factors

-secondary can be influenced by life style change

What changes in the brain take place in early adulthood?

-The brain reaches a stable size & weight

-strong evidence that at least 1 growth spurt occurs between 17 & 21
secondary growth spurt between mid-20s

-sex differences are apparent in adult brain

-necessary to have challenging environment in adolescence & childhood because---supports brain development

How do other body systems change during early adulthood?

-it's clear that adults are at their peak physically & cognitively between ages 20 & 40

-in these years person has more:
muscle tissue
more calcium in bones
bettor sensory acuity
greater aerobic capacity
& more efficient immune system

What habits & personal factors are associated with good health?

-several longitudinal studies have showen that habits & personal factors influence good health

- LIFESTYLE FACTORS include avoiding:
smoking, drinking, overeating, undereating, & sedentary lifestyle

-good health lifestyle factors include:
exercise, regular sleep & low BMI

social support, self-efficacy, an internal locus of control & optimism

Social Support

have decreased rates of disease, death & depression


-defintion= belief in one's ability to perform some action or to control one's behavior & environment

-ppl with high rates of this tend to follow medical advice with regard to health problems

Locus of control

-definition= an individuals set of beliefs about the causes of events

-internal locus of control: ppl see themselves as capable of having some control over what happens to them -- GOOD HEALTH

- external locus of control: ppl believe that other people & uncontrollable forces (luck) determine their future -- BAD HEALTH


-believe setbacks are temporary & usually causes because of circumstances

-more + ppl

-better health


-feel helpless & that misfortunes will last a long time and everything is their fault

-more - people

-poorer health

intimate partner abuse

-defintion = physical acts or other behaviors to intimidate/harm an intimate parter

-intimate parters couples that are: dating, cohabiting, engaged, married or who were formally partners

what are the causes & effects of intimate partner abuse?

-intimate partner abuse is a significant global health problem

-causal factors:
cultural beliefs about gender roles, personal variables (alcohol & drug use)

-women who are abused develop feelings of:
anxiety, shame & low self-esteem

-witnessing abuse negatively affects children's development

domestic abuse

abuse incidents only involving individuals living in same household

why are rates of mental illnesses higher in young adulthood?

-because there are higher expectations, higher levels of role conflict & role strain

vs. middle adulthood

what mental d/o are young adults most likely to have?

-most like to have depression, anxiety or to be lonely in middle adulthood

-personality disorders appear during this age period
i.e. - schizophrenia is usually diagnosed during this time

anxiety & mood disorders

most common mental d/o are those associated with fear & anxiety

i.e.= phobia


-definition = an irrational fear of an object, person, place or situation

-most are learned through association of experience of the experience of being in a state of fear with a specific stimulus

personality disorder

-definition = an inflexible pattern of behavior that leads to difficulties in social, educational & occupational functioning

-usually brought on by stresses of young adulthood (and combinations of biological factors)

-lead to serious disturbances in cognitive, emotional & social functioning


-definition =a serious mental d/o characterized by disturbance of thought (delusions & hallucinations)

-hallucinations = false sensory experiences
-delusions = false beliefs

-medications can help most people regain normal functioning
BUT many continue to experience recurring episodes of distrubed thinking even when meds help them gain control of their behavior

substance use & abuse in young adulthood

-alcohol & other drug addictions increase between 18 & 40

-rates of addiction are higher in men--- but age pattern in same for both genders

binge drinking

-most common between ages 18 & 25 in US

-usually display problem behaviors like:
higher rates of unprotected sex, physical injury, drinking & driving, trouble with police

substance abuse

-definition = a pattern of behavior in which a person continues use of a substance even though it interferes with psychological, occupation, social & education functioning

-person abuses a drug but is NOT addicted to it

substance dependence

-usually leads to addiction (person needs more & more of it to function)

physical drug dependence

-result of body's natural ability to protect itself against harmful substances by developing a drug tolerance

-person becomes less affected by drug & takes larger doses& can't function w/o it

-if drug is taken away: withdrawal symptoms occur (usually opposite of drug)

i.e.-stimulant withdrawal leads to exhaustion & depression

psychological drug dependence

- a craving/irresistible urge for drug's pleasurable effects

-more difficult to combat than physical drug dependence

Difference between PHYSICAL & PSYCHOLOGICAL drug dependence?

-PHYSICAL occurs when a change in the brain requires the person to take drug in order to avoid withdrawal symptom

-PSYCHOLOGICAL is the craving that some substance abuses have for the effects of the drugs on which they are dependent on

Alcohol in young adulthood

-is the most commonly abused substance

-rates for abused are much higher than other substance because:
the availability of alcohol & the social acceptability of drinking

-estimated that greater than 30% of adults in US have abused alcohol at some point in their life

-people who abuse this often use other substances too

4 factors that influence addiction

1. how fast effects of drugs are felt
2. how pleasurable the effects are in pro ducting euphoria or in getting rid of pain long pleasurable effects last
4. how much discomfort is experienced when drug is used

what types of postformal thoughts have developmentalist proposed?

-there may be change in cognitive structure in adult life

-theorist have suggested that cognitive development goes beyond Piaget's formal operational stage

-Postformal thought (a proposed 5th stage of cognitive development) includes various types of thinking which are:
relativism, dialectical thought & reflective judgement

Postformal thought

-a proposed 5th stage of cognitive development

-emerges in early 20s in response to problems unique to young adulthood


-type of thinking in Postformal Thought
-the idea that some propositions cannot be adequately described as true or false

dialectical thought

-type of thinking in Postformal Thought

-form of thought involving recognition & acceptance of paradox & uncertainty

reflective judgement

-type of thinking in Postformal Thought

-ability to identify the underlying assumptions of different prospectives on controversial issues

intelligence in young adulthood

- IQ scores remain stable across middle childhood, adolescence and young adulthood

crystallized intelligence

-definition =knowledge & judgement acquire through education & experience

i.e. vocab, using computers, etc

fluid intelligence

-definition =aspect of intelligence that reflects fundamental biological processes & doesn't depend on specific experiences

-declines quicker than crystallized intelligence

how do concepts of crystallized & fluid intelligence help to explain age-related changes in IQ scores?

-some studies of measures of intelligence show a decline with age

-the decline occurs quite late for well-exercised abilities (crystallized) such as vocal

- a measurable decline occurs earlier for fluid abilities

post-secondary education

-any formal education after high school

what are some ways in which college attendance affects individual development

-has beneficial effects on both cognitive & social development

-also associated with higher income

Traditional post-secondary education

- students who attend school full time & attend school directly out of high school

-50% manage to obtain degree within 6 yrs

-27% of all college students

-most in 4 yr colleges

nontraditional post-secondary education

- college students who attend part-time or delay enrollment after high school

*delay college entrance > 1 years after HS graduation
*independent from parents
*employed full time while enrolled
*enrolled part time
* have children
*have GED instead of HS diploma
*single parents

-30% obtain degree within 5 yrs of 1st enrollment

-most in 2 yr colleges

Difference between traditional & nontraditional post-secondary education

-nontraditional are more likely to obtain vocational certificates

-traditional bachelors/associate degrees

What does research suggest about the experiences of college students with disabilities?

-not yet enough research on students with disabilities to draw firm conclusions about their college experiences

-studies suggest that with certain accommodations they can be just as successful in college as students w/o disabilities

Gender differences with college experience

-female students have a number of important advantages over male students
*higher graduation rate

-males have more confidence in their academic abilities
*women lack confidence & are reluctant to enter traditionally male occupations

How does ethnicity affect the college experience of minority students?

-African American students are less likely to complete post secondary programs than other groups

*perhaps because they perceive White-Dominated educational environments as hostile

Gisela Labouvie-Vief's theory thinking

*is a theorist that places more emphasis on everyday thought process that on thinking that occurs in academic contexts

*argued that adults learn how to solve problems associated with particular social roles they occupy or job they hold

* in the process they trade the deductive thoroughness of formal operations for:
- contextual validity ~ this tradeoff does not reflect a regression or a loss but a necessary structural change

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