Typically, adolescents eagerly anticipate their transitions to young adulthood. They look forward to supporting themselves financially, living independently, and making their own decisions. As young adults transition into middle adulthood, they will likely assume increased responsibilities. Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman (2013) state, “middle adulthood has been referred to as the prime time of life” (p. 441). Typically, adults at this stage have accumulated some satisfaction from their maturity and accomplishments.
Though young and middle adulthood may be exciting and significant times in the human life span, they also present unique challenges for the individual. This week, you begin your study of young and middle adulthood by considering its biological aspects. You explore health issues and changes in physical development during this period. You also consider how your understanding of these issues might influence your assessments of and interactions with individuals in this segment of the life span.
Zastrow, C. H., & Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2016). Understanding human behavior and the social environment (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Chapter 10, “Biological Aspects of Young and Middle Adulthood” (pp. 469-497)
Temcheff, C. E., Serbin, L. A., Martin-Storey, A., Stack, D. M., Ledingham, J., & Schwartzman, A. E. (2011). Predicting adult physical health outcomes from childhood aggression, social withdrawal and likeability: A 30-Year prospective, longitudinal study. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 18(1), 5–12.
Wilson, H. W., & Widom, C. S. (2011). Pathways from childhood abuse and neglect to HIV-risk sexual behavior in middle adulthood. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 79(2), 236–246.
Discussion: Classifications of Life-Span Development
When did you become an adult? Was it the day you graduated from high school? Or, was it the day you moved out of your parents’ or caregivers’ home? Your description of what it means to be an adult and how and when an adolescent transitions into adulthood may differ from that of your colleagues.
The authors of your course text, Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman, use the term young and middle adulthood to identify the life-span time period between age 18 and 65. This classification distinguishes this time in the life of an individual from childhood and adolescence and from the later years of adulthood.
Is the authors’ young and middle adulthood classification a useful one? What is especially useful and not useful about the classification? What changes would you make to the authors’ classification to make it more applicable to your role as a social worker?
For this Discussion, you analyze the author’s life-span classification and suggest ways to improve it.
By Day 3
- A new classification (or possibly multiple classifications) to replace the authors’ young and middle adulthood classification
- A definition of your new classification(s)
- Support for your new classification(s). for example, this support may include references to theory and empirical research findings and should reflect the current understanding of biological, psychological, and social development
- An implication your new classification might have regarding social work practice
By Day 5
Read a selection of your colleagues’ posts.
Respond to at least two colleagues whose classifications differ from your own by critiquing their classifications. In addition, suggest one way you might apply each colleague’s life-span classification to your social work practice.
Assignment: Middle Adulthood Health, Demography, and Social Work Practice
A health crisis can occur at any phase in an individual’s life span. General health concerns, however, tend to increase with age. As a social worker, your awareness of the biological aspects of middle adulthood will inform your work with clients in this life-span phase.
In this Assignment, you address the health concerns that clients may face as they reach middle adulthood. You also address the potential impact of the environment on the health of individuals in this life-span phase.
By Day 7
Submit a 2- to 4-page paper that includes the following:
- A description of the health concerns that clients may face as they reach middle adulthood
- An analysis that explains how factors such as race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and other demographic characteristics might impact at least three of the health concerns you identified
- An explanation of how you, as a social worker, should take these potential health concerns and the environmental factors that influence them into account as you complete your assessments
Ashley Burk RE: Discussion – Week 2COLLAPSE
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (2014), in a longitudinal study, found that while the median age for young adults to leave their parents’ home was nineteen, over half eventually moved back in with their parents on average two years later at age twenty-one. One of the major milestones Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman (2016) use to determine young adulthood was leaving the parental home and establishing independence. Another factor to consider is the brain is not fully developed until twenty-five. It is at this time many people have an easier time making rational rather than emotional decisions (Sather & Shelat, 2019). Based on the data from the BLS and Sather and Shelat, I would reclassify young adulthood to starting at twenty-five and end at thirty-five. By this time two things have happened: 1) young adults are more financially stable and able to leave the parental home and achieve lasting independence, and 2) the human brain is fully mature (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014; Sather & Shelat, 2019). This would extend adolescence but make more sense from a biological, social, and environmental development perspective. Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman’s definition of middle adulthood makes sense, but due to the extension of young adulthood and how young adults are still establishing themselves in their career, family life, and financial stability, I would reclassify middle adulthood as thirty-five to sixty-five. The new classifications would be based on biological development and new social norms and could give social workers a greater understanding of the tug-of-war adolescents are in with their emotional and rational brains into their mid-twenties. There is a certain maturity expected of adults that is not of adolescents, and it can be hard to meet this expectation while the brain is still developing connections between the emotional and rational parts of the brain. Extending adolescence for developmental theories could give helping professions the theoretical backing that is needed to explain why young adults are still struggling with rational decision-making and help solve this in research-based practice to parents struggling with why their early twenties child is having a hard time living on their own.
michelle washington RE: Discussion – Week 2COLLAPSE
Several theorists have tried defining different stages of adulthood and its specific characteristics (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman,2016). I would reclassify young adulthood and call if curious adulthood. This age group would still consist of fifteen to twenty-five. These ages are an experimental time in individuals lives. Curious adulthood would consist of the time period which is where some of the most crucial learning of trial and error would happen. According to Merriam-Webster (2019), curious can be defined as the desire to investigate and learn. During this time period of someone’s life they will have new experiences, they will begin to learn you they are and what they want to become. Individuals may also even gain a better insight to what their future goals may be and what they wish to accomplish. This time period is crucial for social development, psychological development, and biological development. “As adolescents work to form their identities, they pull away from their parents, and the peer group becomes very important (Shanahan, McHale, Osgood, & Croute, 2007). Social experiences begin to increase, and young adults begin to spend more time with social groups. This stage of adulthood accompanies Erick’s stages of development. Identity formation occurs during this time period( Developmental Psychology.). Although biological changes can still be occurring during this time most of the changes that individuals experience within their body has ceased(Physical, Psychological and Emotional Changes in Adults, n.d.).
I would reclassify middle adulthood to mature adulthood. According to Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman (2016), middle adulthood are individuals that are between the ages of twenty-three to forty-five or fifty. According to Merriam Webster (2019), mature is a completion of natural growth and development. I would also define mature adulthood as a state of being stable and a fully sustainable adult that has enough insight into what it takes to be well versed individual. In this stage of adulthood biological changes can reappear, as well as social groups may change and become a time where more permanent friendships are formed (“physical, psychological and emotional changes in adults, n.d.). Also, during this time period is where life changing events may take place which helps to shape emotional and psychological well-being (“physical, psychological, and emotional changes in adults”, n.d.).