Early and Middle Adulthood

Earlyand Middle Adulthood

Earlyand Middle Adulthood

Theearly adulthood is a critical stage in life. People make essentialdecisions concerning independence, education, relationships, andliving environment. The adults also strive to attain emotionalautonomy from their families of origin. According to the Erikson’stheory of psychological development, human life is classified intoeight psychological stages. At each development phase, an individualexperiences unique form of development. The objective of this essayis analyzing human psychological adjustments to lifestyle and age inearly and middle adulthood development stages.

Theyoung adulthood stage is the sixth phase in Erikson’s developmenttheory. It begins from 18 years and ends at forty years. The mainvirtue humans experience at this age is love. On the contrary, theyconfront the psychosocial crisis of intimacy versus isolation. Theyoung adults begin wondering whether they have the capacity to loveother people. The confusion experienced in the previous stagesdecreases steadily at this phase. The individuals strive to acquiretrustworthy partners that they can form long term relationships.Besides, the young adults also establish critical career goals duringthis stage (Akman, 2012).

Successfuldevelopment of this state leads to marriage and procreation. Theindividuals also complete education during this stage and secure jobsin their chosen career. The individuals’ career option determinestheir socioeconomic status, residence location, political values, jobstress, and child care among other essential lifestyle values (Akman,2012).

Youthsin this development phase are healthy, vibrant, and active. However,they require motivation and guidance from mentors on major issuessuch as career choice and future life direction. Youths fromdysfunctional families are at risk of developing negative behaviorssuch as eating disorders, aggression, violent outbursts anddepression. Since the youths intend to make every part of their lifecount, individuals they begin taking personal responsibilitiesseriously. The age is very productive hence, it makes a bigpercentage of the skilled employees.

Severalrole changes occur during early childhood. For example, couples areexpected to become breadwinners, parents, and spouses (Akman, 2012).The social expectations and patterns of life of married individuals’significant changes. The early adults require developing new values,attitudes, and interests that match the new responsibilities. Thefresh responsibilities make early adulthood a unique and challengingadjustment stage.

Oneof the impacts of healthy habits during early adulthood phaseincludes the development of long term relationships. The youthsdevelop intimate relationships with a person of the opposite genderthat may lead to a long-term relationship and marriage. The mainfocus is establishing autonomous emotional and physical support fromparents. The relationship with friends become stronger than theconnection with the relatives. Since the young adults are determinedto blend with their friends, their behaviors are significantlyinfluenced by their colleagues. On the same note, healthy adulthoodcan cause isolation. This implies that the individuals are ready todistant themselves from people who might threaten development of ahealthy relationship (Bowling &amp Iliffe, 2011).

Onthe contrary, unhealthy habits during early adulthood can makeindividuals establish rocky relationships, which may involve constantfighting or even breakups after a short time. The confusion can alsoextend into late thirties. Unhealthy habits make individuals in thisstage to refrain from establishing long term relationships ordeveloping close relationships with their friends (Akman, 2012).Casual and short term intimacy with multiple partners is also commonfor individuals with unhealthy habits. Persons from broken familiesmay have low self-esteem and motivation to connect with non-familymembers. Bad healthy habits are associated with isolation that causesloneliness and depression throughout the phase. Besides, theundesirable habits contribute to same-sex marriages (Bowling &ampIliffe, 2011).


Thisstage begins from approximately forty years and ends at agesixty-five. The main virtues experienced during the stage is care anddevelopment. Similarly, the ego development goal involvesgenerativity versus self-absorption. However, poor development of thephase leads to stagnation that causes stagnation and reducedproductivity.

Workbecomes critical during this phase. Many individuals at this phaseare obsessed with productive and valuable work, as well asresponsibilities concerning their families. The phase also put peoplein charge of their lives and families, a role that several peoplelook forward to attaining.

Themain responsibility of middle adults is propagating culture andadvocating cultural values in the families. This may include traininggood behaviors to children and creating a secure environment that cansupport healthy development of a family. Individuals in thisdevelopment phase acquire strength through either providing care toothers or after accomplishing a duty that improves the society.Erikson described the action of contributing to a society improvementas generativity (Bowling &amp Iliffe, 2011).

Individualsin the growth phase are also vulnerable to the mid-life crisis aschildren start becoming independent and leaving home. Since themeaning of life was centered on raising the children, instillingdiscipline, as well as providing for them, the adults may find itchallenging to find another goal to direct their energy once childrenleave home. The individuals’ major relationships involve thefamily, workplace and their immediate society (Bowling &amp Iliffe,2011).

Duringearly adulthood, individuals struggle to establish long termrelationships by loving a non-relative of the opposite sex. However,they gradually adjust to loving their young ones, family connections,and the work they do in order to provide for the children. The mainambition becomes delivering the highest productivity possible. Whilehealthy habits in this stage increases productivity and satisfaction,unhealthy habits cause stagnation that leads to reducedself-confidence. The helplessness enhances the individuals’inferiority complex because they feel incapable of providing guidanceto the young generation (Bowling &amp Iliffe, 2011).

Individualsin middle adulthood experience numerous role changes compared to theearly adulthood phase. One of these changes is that they express lovethrough providing counseling, offering material goods, and wisdomwhile in early adulthood they mainly express love towards othersthrough sexual contact. Second, the individuals strive to establish ahealthy lifestyle with everyone in the society other than role closefriends and intimate partners like in the previous development phase(Bowling &amp Iliffe, 2011). Third, they focus on providing guidanceto the children with the intention of molding them into responsibleadults. The adults are also keen on evaluating their children’sfriends to ensure they are free of bad influence. During leisuretime, the individuals often engage in creative activities. Forexample, they can spend their leisure breaks feeding dogs or advisingyoung people. On the other hand, unhealthy habits may contribute tounsuccessful completion of this stage. Such individuals often feelweak, displaced in the society and lonely. They may also suffer fromdepression. The despair phase begins early in individuals that haveunsuccessfully completed the development stage (Akman, 2012).


Akman,J.S. (2012). The developmental psychology of aged persons.Encyclopediaof Life Support Systems,2. 1-7. Retrieved fromhttp://www.eolss.net/sample-chapters/c04/e6-27-05-04.pdf

Bowling,A. &amp Iliffe, S. (2011). Psychological approach to successfulageing predicts future quality of life in older adults. Health andQuality of Life Outcomes, 9(13). Retrieved fromhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3063186/