Early and Middle Adulthood: Thesis Statement

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Psychological Adjustments to Aging and Lifestyle The emotional changes that occur during early adulthood can be broken down into stages, each with a progressive effect on the individual. Early adulthood starts as the adolescent realizes they are no longer a child, which introduces a new way of looking at life. As young adult emerges, individuals experience physical, mental, and emotional changes. Change is the constant the early adults will continue to experience, followed by more stability. It marks an adolescent’s transition from family. Erik Erikson's study on stages from adolescence to adult hit touches on eight different stages. The more relevant this topic starts at stage six which he identifies young adulthood to be from 19-40 a time of “Intimacy vs. Isolation” (Erikson). During this stage the focus is on building relationships; however, he indicates the need for self-confidence. The success or failure of intimate relationships is centered around the personal relationship with one’s self. Erikson picks up his theory at middle adulthood described as 40-65 and a time of “Generativity Vs. Stagnation.”

The theory supports that middle adulthood is a continuation or growth from early adulthood. Where one ends the other picks up, this assumes the individual has successfully maneuvered through early adulthood. It promotes the natural next stage fulfilling the relationship and focusing on a career. There should be a feeling of accomplishment and pride in oneself, with respect to family and accomplishment. Each very unique but have similar triumphs and consequences. While succeeding promotes healthy relationships in young adults, to middle adulthood it equates to a self-feeling of accomplishment. In equal terms, failure results in young adult isolation and loneliness, and middle adulthood results in shallow involvement. Dependent self-dependency in middle adulthood picks up between ages 35 to 65, which is accompanied by physical changes. The physical changes can affect the emotional state of an individual. They are taking on extreme changes that come with age influencing an individual to make lifestyle changes and compromises. An excellent way to describe recognizing the transitional stage is “early adulthood ends when a person no longer seeks adult status but feels like a full adult in the eyes of others” (“Lumen Lifespan Development,”). The psychological adjustments experienced during middle adulthood are more physical and exasperated by individual lifestyles. Social and Intimate Relationships Social and Intimate relationships in adulthood are influenced by individual culture. One concept introduces familism. Psychologists believe that personality serves as a source of endurance in middle age.

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The changes in the early adult and middle adult are suggested to be marked more by personality than by age. During the early stages of adulthood, social interaction, and the perception of others is essential. The emerging adult has a sense of how they are preserved as they enter their mid to late 20s and begin to form more committed long-term relationships. The introduction to intimate relations is not as complicated. They are now experiencing one or all of the components of love, passion, decision/commitment, and intimacy (psychologist Robert Sternberg). The more significant dilemma in the relationship focuses on commitment versus commitment. Intimacy suggests a sexual relationship but does not have to include a commitment. In early adulthood, one can happen without the other, and influencers can be based on their cultural, environmental, and family influencers. It was referenced that “intimacy needs may seem satisfied in early adulthood with a good marriage, but then they may reappear decades later after an unanticipated divorce.” (Berger pg. 466) Erikson’s stages of adulthood outline the stage of Intimacy versus Isolation, which further supports that intimacy spans beyond a physical relationship. Although physical needs are relevant as the early to mid-adult has a primal need for closeness, the level is achieved in various ways. The absence of intimacy can leave the young adult with a feeling of isolation. (Berger pg. 466) However, this void can be filled by more than a partner. Intimacy almost relates to the need for interaction with others. This includes “family members, friends, partners, and strangers.” (Berger pg499) Identify various role changes that occur during early and middle adulthood The various role changes that occur during early and middle adulthood include personality, “which appear to accelerate during emerging adulthood” (Roberts et al., 2006) (Hakhmigari, 2019). Research has established that “personality change can occur at different life stages” These stages would be inclusive from early adulthood to middle adulthood. (Caspi et al., 2005; Mroczek and Spiro, 2007; Specht et al., 2011) (Hakhmigari, 2019).

The acceleration of the personality can be characterized by a demonstration of self-control, self-conscientiousness, and emotional stability. As individuals transition through personality stages, they become open to experiencing change in a new light. While the young adult may have been resistant to change, the middle adult can now embrace the positive side of change, enhancing their growth and opening up opportunities. The immediate and future impact of healthy and unhealthy habits practiced during early and middle adulthood. Age is in the eye of the beholder, and the impact a stage of adulthood has on the habits practiced by an individual is subjective. Undisputed how a person takes care of themselves during these stages dictates the longevity of their life. The study conducted confirmed, “Regular physical activity protects against serious illness even if a person smokes, drinks, or overeats” (Berger pg., 429). This suggests that the habits formed during early and middle adulthood transcend through the lifespan. The effect is not only on the physical part of the body but has an impact on mental stability and overall wellness. Even more impact on the evolving adult is the static that states; “22 percent of adult men (age 25–65) and 18 percent of women are now smokers, with rates peaking in the 20s and then decreasing gradually with maturity (National Center for Health Statistics, 2014). By age 60, more adults are former smokers than current smokers.” (Berger, pg.431). Ultimately healthy habits and unhealthy habits have a lifelong effect on early and middle adulthood. Increasing their life span through choosing healthy habits is more comfortable to achieve when started during youth. The word habit according to Merriam-Webster is defined as “an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary” ('Habit,' 1828).


  1. Hakhmigari, M. K. (2019). Personality maturation among emerging adults and future career success. Retrieved from http://http:/https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/
  2. Berger, K. S. (). Invitation to Life Span [University of Phoenix Custom Edition eBook].
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