Part 4: Young Adulthood

Historically, early adulthood spanned from approximately 18 (the end of adolescence) until 40-45 (beginning of middle adulthood). More recently, developmentalists have divided this age period into two separate stages: emerging adulthood followed by early adulthood. Although these age periods differ in their physical, cognitive, and social development, overall the age period from 18-45 is a time of peak physical capabilities and the emergence of more mature cognitive development, financial independence, and intimate relationships.

Learning Objectives

  • Explain how emerging adulthood differs from adolescence and early adulthood
  • Describe cultural variations of emerging and early adulthood
  • Summarize the overall physical growth in early adulthood
  • Discuss the health of and potential health risks for young adults
  • Discuss the impact of the brain, hormones, and culture on sexuality and sexual identity
  • Distinguish between formal, postformal, and dialectical thought
  • Explain the role of sexism and other forms of discrimination on hiring, employment, and education
  • Discuss personality and attachment in young adulthood
  • Explain adult gender identity and gender roles




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