Human Growth and Development across the Adulthood and the Factors That Affect It: Critical Essay

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For component 1 of this assessment, I am going to be writing about a celebrity of my choice and their development over 3 life stages. I will write about the impact that different factors have had on their growth and development.

I have based my assessment on Caitlyn Jenner, better known as Bruce Jenner. She is currently 68 years old, therefore placing her in the ‘Later Adulthood’ life stage. I will be writing about the following three life stages:

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  • Early Adulthood (19-45)
  • Middle Adulthood (46-65)
  • Later Adulthood (65+)

Caitlyn Jenner is famous for her winning the decathlon on July 30th, 1976, which was before she came out as a transgender woman in April 2015. Approximately two years ago, Caitlyn won ‘the woman of the year award. Even though she was known as Bruce Jenner her birth name was William Bruce Jenner. She was born on October 28th, 1949, in Mount Kisco, New York. She earned a football scholarship and attended Graceland University, however, she was forced to stop playing football because of a knee injury. After this Jenner’s Graceland track coach, L.D Weldon encouraged her to switch to the decathlon, which obviously lead to her winning the decathlon.

Caitlyn is an amazing woman who changed her life. As a young boy around age 10, Caitlyn knew that she wanted to be a girl, she explained this in her interview with Diane Sawyer. She went through a long 10-hour facial feminization surgery and still was surprised however pleased about the way she looked in the morning. She is still pleased with the way she looks.

Jenner attended a secondary school called Sleepy Hollow High School. In the Diane Sawyer interview, Caitlyn recalled that in her high school years, she was far more comfortable and confident with women rather than men back then.

I have chosen Caitlyn Jenner not just because of her amazing success in winning the decathlon in 1976 but because of my admiration for her pride and courage. It takes a lot of courage to do what she did and it has had a big influence on her growth and development. I have chosen to write about these three life stages because they are the most important stages in her life, in my opinion. I will include the impact that appearance, social life, personal relationships with friends and family, and lastly her income and wealth, have had on her life as an individual.

Early Adulthood (19-45)

Physical Development

In early adulthood, physical development is in my opinion the most difficult stage because of the pressure of starting a family and finding a permanent job for any individual's future.

The generic developmental norms at the beginning of this life stage would show that most women are at their most fertile, which means that at this age women are more likely to get pregnant if they are trying to conceive a baby. Getting pregnant in early adulthood is known to be the best and most logical time to get pregnant.

This obviously brings about huge changes to the body, life, and relationships with family and friends. Being pregnant in the mid-twenties is encouraged because generally, most people have been through school and college/university. Having a baby and starting a family at this age is just not about whether a person feels that they are ready it also includes having enough money to support both themselves, the baby, and their partner. Understandably a job will be needed as well as a college or university degree, having experience from a university or college will improve your chance of getting a decent job. Handling all of this will cause a lot of stress and pressure on an individual.

Both men and women at the start of this stage (around 20) are expected to reach their full height. Genetically men are supposed to be taller than women by this stage, this is because men have a chromosome called ‘The Y Chromosome’ which is the male chromosome, which is absent in women. This is why men are supposed to be taller. However, as men and women get older research shows that women lose about a quarter to one-half of an inch every decade from the age of 40.

Mainly at the end of this life stage hair loss begins in males, later in the life stages women gradually start to lose hair. However, unless baldness runs in the family men will only lose a partial amount of hair. As well as this, in this stage, an individual's hair may start to turn grey in various places. In early adulthood, an individual's fine motor skills are probably at their strongest because in past years they have grown and become stronger. Fine motor skills include; the bones in fingers, toes, and forearms. It’s the same with gross motor skills, this includes your arms, legs, and feet. Around the start of this life stage puberty for both men and women begin to end. For some women fertility may end which basically means that it will be harder to conceive a baby, in some cases, it is impossible to have a baby. Some women may start to go through menopause at the end of this life stage, though some women begin at the start of middle adulthood which is the next life stage.

Caitlyn Jenner

Physical Development

When Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, was in college she was a star college football player this is because she was set on pursuing a career in playing football, this was until she seriously injured her knee which lead to need surgery, this meant that she couldn't play football anymore and possibly never play again. Due to this knee injury, Caitlyn's physical activity was hugely affected; daily required exercises and routines became nearly impossible to do. After her injury was fully healed, she realized she had to start a career for herself and her future, unfortunately without American football being an option.

Around a year after the recovery, her coach L.D Weldon talked to Caitlyn and persuaded her to try out for the decathlon, this was the beginning of her fame and wealth. A decathlon consists of four track events and six field events which is a total of ten events; this would have been great for Jenner's physical development such as constantly exercising due to training.

‘I literally started training at midnight, running through the streets of Munich, training for the games’. A quote from Caitlyn Jenner

By this age, Caitlyn Jenner was at her full height which is very common for most males and females, this was 185cm (1.85m or 6ft 1in) this is her height in the last months of 2015.

In this stage it is also common that an adult's metabolic rate slows, this can be varied due to the:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • The proportion of muscle to fat in the body
  • The amount of exercise and/or other physical activity an individual is doing
  • Their genetic rates

Most people believe that Caitlyn Jenner had a hair transplant during her transition. This would have prevented hair loss and thinning of her hair. Having grey hairs clearly states that hair is becoming unhealthy, however with time even with a hair transplant, it is possible that natural grey hair will begin to grow and eventually start to show.

Early Adulthood (19-45)

Intellectual Development

In this life stage, the development of intellectual and language development is probably fully developed or close to being fully developed. Eventually, everyone will get to and live through early adulthood. Usually, by this life stage, individuals are at their highest level of problem-solving and decision-making, this is useful because of all the major decisions that will be in the individual's life. A high level of problem-solving is most important in this life stage because of the difficult problems that will come up in the individual's life depending on their choices, such as involvement with the law, what job they do, or whether they want to start a family. Obviously, problem-solving people starts at birth and carries on during life. Usually towards the end of this life stage generically a person's problem-solving skills are at their highest from all the experience. Throughout the years of infancy, early adulthood, adolescence, and part of early adulthood gaining new and important skills is not optional but will definitely turn out to be very useful and helpful for the future in many situations such as a career, starting a family, and your future all together.

Learning from experiences is an essential part of turning from a teenager to an adult. It's about not making the same mistakes or bad decisions and growing up into a better, more sensible, and reliable person.

A person's language development in infancy compared to early adulthood is completely different, at this life stage, the language development is fully developed. Also usually during this life stage, not only do people learn the language they learn how to use it, for example learning your place in situations.

Caitlyn Jenner

Intellectual Development

During this period Caitlyn was a part of Graceland College, now known as Graceland University. Throughout this time Caitlyn Jenner successfully graduated college with no complications with behavior, attendance, or falling behind in classes. Caitlyn was a very intelligent student in college; she most likely got this from the experience of her past life and from her parents.

Jenner eventually got a degree in physical education after lots of hard work and stress. This stress could have affected her grades and concentration on her goals.

By using the knowledge she has learned over the past years she would have learned a lot of new ways to think and new ways to solve problems in everyday life.

At an early age Jenner was diagnosed with Dyslexia, Dyslexia includes struggling to pronounce words and read easy and straightforward sentences daily. However, research will show that having dyslexia sometimes does not affect general intelligence.

In school, Bruce wasn't so confident due to his dyslexia. Other children around him and in his classes made fun of him because of his difficulty with speaking in front of the class. His biggest fear was going to school, not just because of his dyslexia but because he thought that everyone was so much better than he was. Because he had this learning disability reading in front of classes made him become very anxious. This is a factor of why I failed 2nd grade, year three in the United Kingdom.

Early Adulthood (19-45)

Emotional development

Emotional Development is all about learning about feelings and the different types of emotions people have. Therefore by this life stage, the majority of people that have started Early Adulthood are very familiar with all of the different emotions and most probably have learned to control them by this stage in their life. Another part of developing your emotions is understanding how and why they happen to all of us. In this life stage, the emotional situations start to grow and become more complex.

Normally around the middle age of Early Adulthood people start to think about finding a relationship with someone, usually, people start to look for a long-term relationship that will hopefully, eventually lead to marriage, children and alternately moving in together. Starting a family takes a lot of decisions such as: deciding possibly who you want to spend the rest of your life with. And decide if you are okay financially to start a family; this includes finding a well-paid job to go to and earning money for your future family. Clearly, in this life stage your sense of direction in life is critical for someone's future because it is dependent on what a person’s aspirations are for their career. Having a sense of direction in life is also important because as everyone will eventually reach this life stage they will need to know where to start, for example, what kind of jobs they want. Since the age of three everyone probably had responsibilities even if they didn't know them, these could have been not running in the house or not shouting in the house, these are still responsibilities however in this life stage people are usually more mature and reliable so the responsibilities are bigger and more important. Without children, a person's biggest responsibility is to get a job which means working hard and earning money for the future. The need to feel secure is a part of the emotional development in Early Adulthood this is because being secure in a way links to being healthy, mentally. The need to feel secure means being certain and dependable. In order to have independence courage is needed and very important. Setting goals for yourself and achieving them, or trying your best to achieve them, independently.

Caitlyn Jenner

Emotional Development

When Caitlyn was around the ages of 23 and 24 she became confused about who she was and whether she was meant to be a male or female. I know this because Bruce told his first wife, Chrystie Scott, that he was struggling with gender identity issues. By her early thirties, she began to realize that she was meant to be Caitlyn Jenner, not Bruce Jenner. This may have led to her thinking that she isn’t normal also that her closest family members and friends would be disappointed with her and may even disconnect with her because of this. However, at this age, Bruce wasn’t 100% sure if becoming a woman was just a one-time thought or if it was a serious one. Keeping this to herself wouldn’t have been easy for her or her mood, especially during college. On the other hand, it is obvious that Bruce Jenner had a lot of confidence, independence, and resilience whilst he was in college; this shows that during his knee injury, he found yet another sport to excel in, even when things weren’t going as they were planned. Later into his Early Adulthood, Bruce married Linda Thompson, who eventually found out about his gender dystopia. At this point at age, 37 Bruce had already been divorced two times, clearly, this had an impact on his self- esteem for him now and later.

Early Adulthood (19-45)

Social development

Social development is the development of communication skills throughout life with and around other people. At this life stage having an active social life is really important to have and fairly normal and genuine to have. An active social life basically means spending time with your friends and family and not just sitting at home in front of the television doing nothing. Having a social life is important because without one it affects a person’s mental health. Without having an active social life it doesn't just affect ourselves it affects others as well this is because our mood reflects on others and having a low mood will not reflect well. By this age the thought of being a parent probably crossed most minds at some point therefore the thought of parental responsibilities probably did too. Providing a home for the child and yourself will be almost impossible without having a job previously or currently is crucial to someone’s social life. Another parental responsibility is to pay attention to your social life, work life, and your child's life; which is very difficult but key to a healthy social life. Work pressures are tough to deal with. However it's a huge pressure to bring money home for food, drink, rent, and bills, especially with a newborn and the mother on maternity leave, which means being the only one working; this would normally put a huge change on social lives. The importance to maintain and continue long-term, intimate, and friend relationships from this life stage through to the last life stage (later adulthood) will hopefully be long- lasting.

Starting a family will create a strong and trustworthy bond between partners and children and will have a huge impact on people’s social life with family and possibly will bring the whole family closer together.

Caitlyn Jenner

Social development

Clearly, my celebrity was very popular during this life stage due to her fame and success in the decathlon in 1976, however, before this victory, he was only popular with his college teammates and a small portion of his family. Before fame not being close to her own family would have affected her with a lack of communication with others. At this age most young adults would be at college/university and so was Caitlyn she was around 3 thousand miles away from her hometown where her family was whilst she was in college which decreased the socialization between herself and her family/ friends.

During college, Caitlyn was a member of a football team called ‘YellowJackets’ being a part of this group positively increased her social circle.

After his extraordinary success, he became very popular with most people in the country. Everyone knew his name. Everyone knew his height, weight, and family. Being new to the world being able to know this so easily may worry her.

Along with his fame came good social skills and confidence in speaking to people, such as speaking to the paparazzi, the press, and the BBC news.

Middle Adulthood (46-65)

Physical development

In this stage of life stage people have usually started to notice that they are aging more obviously, this may include:

  • Increase in wrinkles
  • Decrease of hair on the head
  • Aching of muscles
  • Slower movement

All of these things listed above will eventually happen and most probably slowly get worse as age increases. Around the ages, 45-50 most women experience hair loss. However, research has shown that men lose a lot more hair which is usually in later adulthood.These can sometimes start late in early adulthood. Usually, in this life stage, women go through something called menopause, menopause is when women stop menstruating. Menopause normally starts around the age of 50. There are some symptoms of menopause such as:

  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Mood changes( low mood, anxiety)
  • Palpitations ( heartbeats that suddenly become more noticeable)
  • Joint stiffness
  • Aches and pains
  • Reduced muscle mass

These symptoms generally begin a few months and sometimes years before your period stops, this is known as perimenopause. Research shows that on average some of the symptoms last for about 4 years after your last period, however, it also shows that 1 in 10 women’s symptoms last up to 12 years.

Both women and men both go through their hair starting to grey naturally. Hair loss tends to be more frequent in males rather than females; this is because men are more likely to have a condition which is commonly known as androgenic alopecia.

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Human Growth and Development across the Adulthood and the Factors That Affect It: Critical Essay. (2023, August 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from
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