Different cultures have different ages at which children reach the adult
status or the age of legal maturity. Generally, they reach this status when
their puberty growth is complete and when their sex organs have developed to
the point where they are capable of procreation.
Subdivisions of Adulthood
Early adulthood extends from age eighteen to approximately age forty,
when the physical and psychological changes, which accompany the beginning of
the loss of reproductive capacity appear.
Middle Adulthood (Middle Age)
Middle adulthood, or middle age, begins at forty
and extends to age sixty, when both physical and psychological decline become
apparent in the average person.
Late Adulthood (Old Age)
Late adulthood - senescence, or old age - begins at sixty and extends to
death. While physical and psychological decline speed up at this time, modern
medical techniques, as well as careful attention to clothing and grooming
enable many men and women to look, act, and feel much as they did when they
Characteristics of Early Adulthood
period of adjustment to new patterns of life and new social expectations. The
young adult has to take roles such as that of spouse, parent and bread winner
and to develop new attitudes, interests and
values in keeping with these new roles. Some of the outstanding
Early Adulthood is the 'settling - down age'.
This is the period when young men and women are trying out different life
patterns in terms of jobs and different individuals to share their life. Once
individuals decide upon the pattern of life they believe will meet their needs,
they develop pattern of behavior, attitudes and values which will tend to be
characteristically theirs for the ramaining of their lives.
Early Adulthood is the 'Reproductive Age' -
parenthood is one of the most important roles in the lives of most young
Early Adulthood is a 'Problem Age' - young
adults need to cope up with all adjustments within their work and with partner
and larger circle of friends and relatives. Expectations are too high and to
meet demand make it even more difficult.
Early Adulthood is a period of 'Emotional
Tension' - what young adult's worry about which leads to emotional
tension will depend upon their work load at their work place, at home and in
the social circle and also how much success or failure they are experiencing in
meeting these problems.
Early Adulthood is a period of 'Social
Isolation' - with the end of formal education and the entrance into
adult life pattern of work and marriage, the association with peer groups is
slowly weaned. This is when they experience social isolation.
Adulthood is a 'time of Commitment' - As young adults change their role from
student and dependent (characteristic of adolescence) to that of independent
adults, they establish new pattern of living, new responsibilities and take up
new commitments for themselves and their partners.
Young adults with high level of education, good health support and
guidance from partner and family members, high ambitions and realistic goals,
ability to accept success or failure gracefully, ability and willingness to
communicate with others, respect for others and active participation in
prestigious community affairs will easily climb up the ladder to successful
economic and social status.
Poor health or physical defects can be hazardous to personal and social
adjustments but these can always be overcome with the support one gets from the
family and friends.
A lot of adjustments need to be made by young adults, the most important
being - adjustment to marriage, to parenthood, and to the expanded family
There are chances of singlehood also but how women feel about unmarried
life and adjustment to singlehood differs from that of men. For men stress is
less than single women.