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Physical and Cognitive Development in Early Adulthood
Physical development changes as the growth period of youth is over.
Biological aging begins in early adulthood
• Biological aging (senescence) is genetically influenced declines in the functioning of organs and systems that are universal in all people. Aging is asynchronous, in that some organ systems age faster than others. Individual differences are great at this point, cue to genetics, lifestyle, stress, and cultural period. Life expectancy has grown over that past 100 years, adding 30 years overall in industrialized countries. It was thought that the body wore out from hard use: the “wear-and-tear” theory of aging. It’s not so simple.
• Aging at the level of DNA and body cells
o Two types of aging
▪ Those that emphasize the programmed effects of specific genes: this is seen in kinship studies, indicating that rates of aging are specific to families. Telomeres are a special type of DNA located at the ends of chromosomes. They shorten with each replication of cells. We have a lifespan of 50 divisions + 10. Once the telomeres are shortened too much, there is no more ability to reproduce.
▪ Those that emphasize the cumulative effects of random events: suggest that DNA is gradually damaged due to changes in DNA- they can be caused by internal or external events. Random mutations accumulate and cell repair becomes less efficient, or cancerous cells develop.
• Free radicals are one cause of cellular abnormalities. These are naturally occurring, highly reactive chemicals that form in the presence of oxygen. When oxygen molecules break down within the cell, the reaction takes away an electron and creates a free radical. It destroys nearby cellular material to replace that electron. Free radicals are related to 60 disorders of aging: heart disease, cancer, cataracts, arthritis. This damage builds up over time. Anti-oxidants, Vitamin C, E, & beta carotene can limit this damage.
• Radiation and pollutants also trigger cellular breakdowns.
• Aging at the level of organs and tissues
o Cross-linkage theory of aging says that over time, protein fibers that make up the body’s connective tissue form bonds, or links, with one another. When these normally separate fibers cross-link, tissue becomes less elastic, leading to negative outcomes such as loss of flexibility, clouding the lens of the eye, clogging arteries, kidney damage.
o Loss of hormones, as the endocrine system gradually fails also contributes to aging. Menopause affects many bodily functions. A drop in growth hormone leads to loss of muscle and bone mass, additional fat, thinning of the skin, and decline in cardiovascular function. Hormone therapy can reduce this loss, but side effects include risk of cancer. Diet and physical exercise can slow some of these losses.
o Declines in immune system function lead to susceptibility to infections, risks of cancer, changes in blood vessel walls.
• Cardiovascular and respiratory systems
o Hypertension is high blood pressure, and it occurs 12% more often in African Americans than in white population. Death rate due to heart disease is 25% higher in African Americans. The heart muscle becomes more rigid and there is a decrease in maximum heart rate. Symptoms show up during strenuous exercise, as the heart doesn’t bounce back from strain.
o Atherosclerosis is the CVD in which heavy deposits of plaque with cholesterol and fats collect on the walls of main arteries. The process begins early in life, progresses in middle adulthood, and leads to serious heart disease and disability. Sex hormones seem to intensify the effects of a high-fat diet, so we aren’t at much risk before puberty. Heart disease has declined as people are smoking less and becoming aware of their diet. There is better medical detection and treatment now, too. Young and middle aged people with low risk factors (don’t smoke, low cholesterol, normal blood pressure) have 40-60% lower death rates.
o Lung performance declines 10% per decade after age 25, due to stiffening of the tissue.
• Motor performance is affected by declines in heart and lung function as well as gradual muscle loss. Athletic skill with training peaks between 20 & 30 and then declines. Endurance sports peak a bit later- late 20s and 30s. With continued practice, running performance maintains into the 60s.
• Immune system mobilizes when the body is attacked by antigens, foreign substances in the body. T cells come from the bone marrow and mature in the thymus (gland in upper chest) and attack antigens directly. They come in a large variety, since the receptors on their surfaces only recognize a single antigen. B cells come from the bone marrow, to secrete antibodies into the bloodstream that multiply, capture antigens, and allow the blood system to destroy them. The capacity of the immune system declines after age 20. The thymus shrinks steadily as we age. So it is less able to differentiate T cells. B cells depend on T cells, so the immune response is multiply compromised. Stress or depression can weaken the immune response, as the immune system interacts with the nervous and endocrine system.
• Reproductive capacity is ideal in early twenties for producing healthy babies, but in our culture more women are delaying childbirth into the 30s. Reproductive capacity declines with age. Fertility problems increase dramatically in mid-30s, showing as many as 26% of women having fertility problems. The ova seem to deteriorate with age, and as the numbers of ova decline, fertility drops. Age also affects sperm, as sperm concentration decreases after age 40. Reproductive technologies (IVF, donor insemination) can help, but success drops with age.
Health and fitness varies with SES, as the economically advantaged and well-educated tend to hold good health over most of their adult lives, and the health of lower-income people with less education steadily declines. This relates to several things: stressful life events, crowding, pollution, diet, exercise, substance abuse, supportive social relationships, and affordable health care.
• Nutrition in the US has suffered as high-fat, high-calorie foods are more available, and fast-paced lifestyles have led to less exercise.
o Overweight and obesity- 20% of Americans are obese. It is higher among low-SES ethnic minorities (24% Hispanic adults, 30% African Americans, 50% Native-Americans) Gender factors in: 5-7% more women are obese than men (ironic, since women are more weight-conscious). Overweight affects another 41% of Americans. Americans are the heaviest people in the world. Obesity rates rise steadily from 25 to 60.
▪ The obesity epidemic- the rise in obesity began in the late 1980s, until today 61% of Americans have a weight problem. Why?
• Changing food environment and lifestyle
o Availability of cheap fat and sugar – high-fructose corn syrup is 6X as sweet as table sugar and so is cheaper to use in manufacturing. Also palm oil from Malaysia is cheaper and tastier than other vegetable oils but it is highly saturated. Putting these products in fast food made them cheaper and more calorie-dense.
o Portion supersizing has attracted more customers to fast food chains, at the expense of health. The calories in McDonald’s fries rose from 320 in 1970s to 610 today. And adults are more likely to clean their plates!
o Increasingly busy lives once women entered the labor force, the day of the home-cooked meal declined. As the economy faltered, adults worked more hours and days, and eating out increased, as did other convenience foods. Snack foods increased, too. Dietary fat increased from 19 to 38%!
o Declining rates of physical activity were seen due to sedentary jobs, and more time spent at the job, TV as the primary leisure activity.
o Misguided information about healthy weight, exercise and diet lulled the American people to sleep around this issue.
• Combating the obesity epidemic is a national concern, since obesity is responsible for $100 billion in health costs. Social efforts are needed to turn this around:
o Government funding to support public education
o Priorities on parks and rec centers in low-income neighborhoods
o Laws that mandate posting calorie, sugar and fat contents of foods sold
o Special tax on foods high in calories, sugar, or fat
o Incentives to schools/ workplaces for healthy eating and daily exercise, weight management programs
▪ Causes include declining Basal metabolic rate (BMR) which is the amount of energy the body needs at complete rest. This declines as numbers of active muscle cells drop (which happens with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle.) Excess weight is associated with many health problems: high blood pressure, circulation problems, atherosclerosis, stroke, diabetes, live and gallbladder disease, arthritis, sleep and digestive disorders, cancer, early death. This doesn’t even include the stigmatization of the illness. Obese people are less likely to find mates, to be rented apartments, to get financial aid for college, to be offered jobs. 40% of Americans say they are trying to lose weight. Many of those are in the normal range, but the focus on thinness creates unrealistic expectations about desirable weight. There can develop unrealistic anxiety about one’s body if reality isn’t figured in.
▪ Treatment should begin in early adulthood, but lifestyle changes are hard to maintain, as 95% of people who start a weight program return to their original weight within 5 years. These things effect long-term change:
• Well-balanced diet low in fat, plus exercise
• Keeping a record of what is eaten
• Social support
• Teaching problem-solving skills to deal with temptations and frustration
• Extended intervention
o Dietary fat – 60% of Americans eat too much fat in their diets. It should make up no more than 30% of total calories. Fat consumption may have a role in breast cancer or colon cancer. Fat builds up through cholesterol into plaque on arterial walls. It is especially a factor in African Americans incidence of heart disease. Exercise can create chemical byproducts that help eliminate cholesterol.
▪ Saturated fat generally comes from meat and dairy products, and is solid at room temperature. This is related to CVD.
▪ Unsaturated fat comes in the form of vegetable oils.
• Exercise- 20-30 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise can protect against obesity, enhance the immune system, and aid in mental outlook. Only 15-20% of Americans exercise at this level. 30% are not active at all. This is more of a problem for women and low-SES adults. Exercise reduces body fat and builds muscle, which requires more calories to sustain, so it is good for many reasons. It links to reduced cancer, prevents diabetes, reduces CVD, and increases resistance to stress. It reduces anxiety, depression, improves mood, enhances alertness and energy. As outlook improves, it enhances immune function.
• Substance abuse puts people at risk as it increases risk of accident, affects cardiac function, liver function, and increases the natural deterioration of aging.
o Cigarette smoking is a problem for 25% of Americans but that has declined from 40% in 1965. Even so the decline is mostly with college-educated people. Blue-collar people still smoke at high rates. Most smokers started before age 21, showing how vulnerable teens are in choosing habits that have lifetime consequences. Smoking causes less oxygenation to tissues, and makes the heart rate and blood pressure rise. Long-term effects are reduced night vision, rapid wrinkling of the skin, loss of bone, lower sperm count, higher rates of impotence in men. Later effects are higher risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, lungs, pancreas, kidneys, and bladder. Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in industrialized nations. This is dose-related, as more cigarettes smoked, greater the chance of premature death. Quitting has fast effects on health- as risks return to original levels within 3-8 years after quitting. Like overeating, however, the recidivism rate after quitting is high- 70-80% return to smoking within one year.
o Alcohol is a problem for 13% of men and 3% of women in the US. One third of heavy drinkers are alcoholics- people who cannot limit their alcohol use. Men show signs as early as the teens and early 20s. 80% are also heavy smokers, increasing their health risks enormously. There is a genetic connection with alcohol use, but it doesn’t condemn a person to drink. And as many of 50% of hospitalized alcoholics do not have a family history. Risk is higher for certain ethnic groups, however, particularly for Native Americans, as well as those in poverty. Alcohol acts as a depressant, impairing the judgment of the brain. It initially reduces anxiety, so it is used as a social lubricant, but as it wears off it produces anxiety, leading to drinking to relieve symptoms of withdrawal. Consequences include liver disease, CVD, pancreatic inflammation, GI tract irritation, bone marrow problems, some cancers. Later is causes brain damage, leading to dementia, confusion, apathy, impaired memory. 40% of highway fatalities involve drinkers who are drinking and driving. Half of convicted felons are alcoholics. Alcohol is related to date rape and domestic violence. The best treatments include family and personal counseling, group support, and aversion therapy. AA is a powerful support in the community once a person leaves hospital environment. 50% of alcoholics in recover relapse within a few months.
• Sexuality is actively explored in the young adult years, although most people have had sex within their teen years.
o Heterosexual attitudes and behavior has changed a lot in the past generation as people are more casually sexual than in the past. The media promotes the idea that people are more sexually active than in the past, but often young people find that their first sexual experiences aren’t all that the movie images portray. Partners tend to be similar in age, education, ethnicity, and religion. Most people meet through workplace, families or friends, not through ads or at bars. People do have more partners, as 1/3 of adults over age 50 have had 5+ partners, and ½ of people age 30-50 have had that many partners. There tends to be a sort of serial monogamy, though. Most college students say they do want to settle down with one exclusive partner. Americans aren’t having sex as often as one would think, either. One third of 18- to 59-year olds say they have sex twice a week, another third have sex a few times a month, and 1/3 have it a few times a year or not at all. What affects frequency is: age, cohabiting or married, how long the couple has been together. Sexual activity increases through the twenties, and declines in the 30s, often due to the demands of family and jobs. Most (80%) say they feel satisfied emotionally and physically, though. Satisfaction is greater for married people (88%) and it declines as numbers of partners increases! Sexual problems include lack of interest in sex and inability to achieve orgasm, and this is mainly a problem for women. For men the problems are climaxing too early, and anxiety about performance. A past with abuse or poor sexual experiences links to sexual dysfunctions.
o Sex differences in attitudes toward sexuality relate to evolutionary dynamics- the urge to continue the species relates to how we display our sexuality. Sperm are plentiful and ova are less numerous, so women tend to be picky about finding a partner who will support her with resources and commitment while she takes care of babies. We also model the behaviors we have seen in our parents and other adults as we grew up. There is still more stigma attached to women having numerous partners than men, who actually get admiration for their sexual success. Men do expect more sexual pleasure and offer less commitment than most women want. Adultery is viewed differently by men and women, too. Men are more upset by a partner’s sexual activity, and women are more upset by their partner’s emotional connection to another woman. Men and women come closer to the mean as they age, however. Pubertal hormones are powerful motivators.
o Homosexual attitudes and behavior are changing as concerns about health care and AIDS are prevalent in this group. Attitudes have become more accepting as gay images are seen more commonly in the media. Men are more negative toward homosexuals than women, as homophobia is more common for men. 2.8% of men and 1.4% of females are homosexual or bisexual, but many do not identify themselves as such. Patterns for couples are similar as for heterosexuals: similar demographics, greater sexual satisfaction in committed relationships, frequency of sex is not high. They are more likely to live in cities and college towns where attitudes are more accepting and likelihood of finding partners is higher. They tend to be well educated.
o Sexually transmitted disease is most common in adolescence, but is still prevalent in early adulthood as adults are exploring partners. It is more common in women, since transmission to women is easier than to men. AIDS is concentrated among gay men and IV drug users. So gay men have changed many sexual practices, such as limiting their number of partners and using condoms regularly. So rate of infection is declining, but AIDS is the fifth-leading cause of death among young adults. It is spreading fastest in impoverished areas, associated with poor health in general, poor education, high stress & hopelessness. Women are at high risk, as incidence in women has risen from 7% to 19% of cases of AIDS.
o Sexual coercion- 13% of women have endured rape, intercourse by force, threat, or due to lack of ability to give consent (unconscious, mental retardation). Nearly half have endured other forms of sexual aggression. Most (8/10) victims are under 30. Most of the time the perpetrators are known to the victims. This occurs to all SES, ethnic groups, walks of life. Characteristics of the perpetrator are more predictive of attack than any characteristics of the victim. These perpetrators: believe in traditional gender roles, approve of violence against women, accept rape myths (women really want it, it’s romantic) Many of these men deny what they do is rape: 44% of college women say they have been coerced to have sex, but only 19% of men say they have gotten sex through force. Perpetrators view normal friendliness as sexual come-on, and resistance as desire. They deny their own responsibility, and say the woman brought it on herself, so he’s not responsible. Cultures that strongly stereotype according to gender, and raise boys to be dominant, competitive, aggressive, and women to be submissive, cooperative, and passive, have greater incidences of rape. Social acceptance of violence figures in here, too. Greater exposure to pornography, particularly violent pornography relates to assault, since it desensitizes men to the pain they are causing the victim.
▪ Consequences of rape are similar to survivors of extreme trauma: shock, confusion, withdrawal, psychological numbing. This develops into disturbed sleep, depression, chronic fatigue, anxiety, suicidal thoughts. If coercion is chronic, in the context of a relationship, the victim often feels at more risk if she tries to leave. This is a relevant fear, since the chances of a woman being murdered by her abusing partner increase 70% if she leaves. This is why domestic shelters’ locations are kept secret. As many as half the victims are physically injured. Some get STDs, and 5% get pregnant. They may engage in unhealthy behaviors and addictions as a distraction from their internal pain.
▪ Prevention and treatment require the victim to call out for help, and many feel that is a huge risk. But if they are seen in medical clinics for other things, sometimes the safety of the environment allows them to speak out. There are safe houses, legal aid, and economic support for the victims and their children. Therapy is essential for overcoming the long-term effects of rape or assault. Some social programs that can help are:
• Routine screening for victimization
• Validation of the experience
• Safety planning
• Preventing sexual coercion
o Reduce gender stereotyping and inequalities
o Mandate treatment for men who assault women
o Expand interventions for children who have witnessed violence between adults
o Teach women to take precautions that lower the risk of sexual assault
▪ Menstrual cycle is central to women’s lives, with concurrent health concerns.
• Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is an array of physical and psychological symptoms that appear 6-10 days before menstruation. These may include abdominal cramps, fluid retention, tender breasts, backache, headache, fatigues, irritability, depression. It may become a problem after age 20, and 40% of women have some form of it, although it is usually mild. 10% have severe enough symptoms to interfere with regular activities. It may have a genetic substrate. Treatments deal with the symptoms, but sometimes include antidepressants. This is still a controversial topic, as many feminists believe this issue has been overblown, used by women to avoid responsibility for their lives.
• Psychological stress involves adverse life events, daily hassles, environmental conditions that wear out one’s coping skills at a certain point. There are clear effects on health from unmitigated stress. It involves the classic fight or flight response, with all the attendant physiological responses: raised blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, impaired immune function, GI tract problems. Young adulthood is a time of great adaptation to new roles and jobs, so there is a lot of stress involved – even for happy events, such as weddings, and babies. Stress management is easier as adults shift into middle age, since greater life experience tends to put things into a more manageable perspective. Older adults also have a greater sense of personal control of their lives. Some things that can buffer stress are: social support, exercise, control of substances, learning coping skills.
• Fostering a healthy adult life
o Engage in healthy eating
o Maintain a reasonable body weight
o Keep physically fit
o Control alcohol intake, do not smoke
o Engage in responsible sexual behavior
o Manage stress
Changes in the structure of thought
• Postformal thought is cognitive development past Piaget’s formal operational stage. Thinking becomes restructured in adulthood, as life is rarely as clear and emotionally manageable as one thinks it will be in adolescence.
• Perry’s theory – after interviewing college students at the end of each year of college, Perry found that students gradually changed their thinking in the face of reality and adult responsibility.
o Dualistic thinking is representative of younger students- dividing information, values, and authority into right and wrong, good and bad, we and they. Truth is compared to abstract standards, and authority figures are respected simply because of their authority base.
o Relativistic thinking occurs as students age and become aware of the diversity of opinions on any topic. Now they see knowledge as embedded in a framework of thought. Now they recognize there is little absolute truth, but relative truths, based on context. Now thinking becomes more flexible, tolerant, and realistic.
o This transition in thinking may be unique to people pursuing extended education, with all the diversity that they face in that environment. The underlying theme is adaptive cognition- thought that is less constrained by the need to find one answer to a question and it more responsive to context.
• Schaie’s theory regards the goals of mental activity- the shift from acquiring knowledge to using it.
o Acquisitive stage (childhood and adolescence) is the time when people are acquiring knowledge. They develop enhanced processing abilities, strategies for use of information, and ways to combine and integrate it.
o Achieving stage (early adulthood) is when people adapt their cognitive skills to particular situations: job, marriage, childbearing, that affect long-term goals. Now they are applying knowledge to real life problems. These are problems that don’t have a single right solution. How a person negotiates getting his/her needs met, and cooperates with others sets a trajectory for the remaining life course.
o Responsibility stage (middle adulthood) develops as adults expand their responsibilities to others- mentoring at work, raising children, taking care of elderly parents. Now reasoning has to do with social obligations, setting boundaries, knowing when and how to let go of circumstances that one can’t change.
▪ Executive stage is the most advanced of this type of thinking- it characterizes people whose responsibilities have become very complex. Job responsibilities affect others, require monitoring of others’ progress in the context of the business mission. So it requires that they understand the dynamics of the institutional structure, incoming information, goals, and personal needs of employees, or family members.
o Reintegrative stage (late adulthood) involves people at retirement, reexamining and reintegrating their interests and values to produce a satisfying quality of life. No longer do they have to consider decisions in terms of consequences to assessing what they want and whether their life has offered them meaning. They become selective about how they spend time and who they spend it with. Each choice holds weight.
• Labouvie-Vief’s theory involves the transition from adolescent perception of all the possibilities to adult perception of the practical and realistic.
o Pragmatic thought is a structural advance in which logic becomes a tool for solving real-world problems. This change is motivated by the need to specialize. When adults choose a career path, they eliminate all the alternative possibilities. They fine-tune their learning for that particular environment and its demands. The advantage of this is that it opens new doors to higher levels of expertise and competence. Now they accept inconsistencies of life and people and develop thinking that accepts imperfection and compromise. This includes awareness of multiple truths, integration of logic with reality, and tolerance for the gap between the ideal and the real.
Information processing: expertise and creativity
• Expertise is the acquisition of extensive knowledge in a field or endeavor, due to specialization coming from selection of a major or occupation. Becoming an expert has great effects on how we process information. Experts remember and reason more quickly and effectively. They know more domain-specific concepts and represents them in deeper ways. So experts approach problems with goals in mind, linking information and problems in complex patterns that are unseen to a novice. Experts have such knowledge that they arrive at solutions quickly because they use more automatic processing in the realm of their expertise. Expertise links to creativity, since they are directed at solving problems and meeting specific needs. Adult creativity has the ability to formulate new problems and ask significant questions that haven’t been suggested before. There is a movement from problem solving to problem finding. It seems to require 10 years to develop master-level creativity. Creative accomplishments rise in early adulthood, peak in late thirties or early forties, and gradually decline. There are differences based on when a person found their career interest, as well as specific area of expertise. Not all experts are creative. It requires innovative thinking style, tolerance of ambiguity, special drive to succeed, and a willingness to experiment and try again in the face of failure. It requires much time and energy, so for many women, family responsibilities squeeze it out.
Changes in mental abilities- cross-sectional studies show a peak in intelligence test performance at 35, followed by a drop into old age. But using long-term longitudinal studies of a group, test scores show an age-related increase. Longitudinal studies show an increase in intellectual ability around age 50, into the 60s, with a gradual drop after that. Cohort effects seem to be responsible, as each new generation had better education, nutrition, and information available to them. Not all intellectual abilities follow this pattern, but it is consistent over large groups.
College experience is described by many people as their most influential period of adulthood. Not only are students exploring and developing careers, they are exploring their values, social skills and are being exposed to diversity on many levels. 75% of US graduates enroll in some form of college.
• Psychological impact of attending college- attitudes and values broaden. They show increasing interest in performing arts, social issues, and develop greater tolerance for different values and issues of different people. Moral reasoning expands into concern for less fortunate people. Along with that comes a greater self-understanding, higher self-esteem. These developments occur as students get more involved in academic and nonacademic pursuits. Living in a dorm makes a difference, since students get completely immersed in the atmosphere of the college. Commuting students need some comparable way of getting connected.
• Dropping out of college- 45% of college students at two-year institutions and 26% of those in 4-year institutions drop out, most in the first year. People drop out for a number of reasons: lack of motivation, poor adaptation to college demands, unwillingness to meet with mentors, teachers who could encourage them. The more connected a student becomes in the first months, the more chance they have to complete school.
Vocational choice is a major element of identity development. Work offers self-respect, a group of like-minded people to connect with, a certain economic status, lifestyle.
• Selecting a vocation occurs over years as children think about what they want to be when they grow up.
o Fantasy period- in early and middle childhood children fantasize about different jobs. They think about what life would be like if they were a teacher, actress, pilot.
o Tentative period – early and middle adolescence stirs adolescents to think about careers in more complex, realistic ways. They consider what they are interested in and what skills they have and what values they hold.
o Realistic period- late adolescence and early adulthood- the realities of adulthood press in on youth and they narrow their options. They explore the possibilities, gather information, and finally crystallize their choices by considering the educational demands of various careers.
• Factors influencing vocational choice
o Personality (Holland’s theory) interacts with job choice since we try to find jobs that fit our personalities. This relationship isn’t strong, but it is consistent. We do hold more than one personality type and have flexibility to learn various jobs, but we’ll be more successful in a job environment that fits our interests and abilities. Many factors influence the jobs we strive for- economics, family responsibilities, educational opportunities.
▪ Investigative person- interested in science
▪ Social person- likes interacting with people, human services, teaching
▪ Realistic person- mechanical occupations outside
▪ Artistic person- needs individual expression in arts, music
▪ Conventional person- likes structure, material possessions, social status, business, quality control
▪ Enterprising person-adventurous, persuasive, leader, drawn to sales or politics
o Family influences are powerful, simply because what a student sees in his/her family is what seems doable and familiar. Youth aspirations correlate closely with jobs of the parents. This has to do with educational aspirations and successes. The best predictor of occupational status (white collar, blue collar) is years of schooling completed. High SES parents can also network for their kids, getting them summer jobs and helping them see the work in a meaningful way. These parents also stress independence, so their children will tend to seek higher status jobs to please them.
o Teachers can influence a student’s choice of field, simply by their enthusiasm and grounded insights into what it takes to be successful. This is especially true for students from low SES families.
o Gender stereotypes held women back in numbers of career tracks until the past 20 years. Women have gained training in occupations that were generally held by men. Even so, there is not equal representation in many career fields: engineering, physicians, law. Women are still concentrated in traditionally feminine professions: writing, social work, education, and nursing. They do not rise to the same level of production as men, either. This probably has to do with gender-based messages to girls- resulting in girls having less confidence and underestimating their abilities. Women’s career aspirations decline in college. They rethink their careers to include flexibility that will allow starting a family. Even women gifted in math tend to choose medicine or a health profession rather than engineering, math or physical science. Women who do press on in their goals have four things in common:
▪ A college that values the accomplishments of women and enhances women’s experiences.
▪ Frequent interaction with faculty or mentors in their field.
▪ Opportunity to test abilities in a supportive environment.
▪ Models of successful women who have managed the family-career conflict.
o Access to vocational information helps students to find their way in a real work world. Many students don’t have a clear idea what it will take to make their dreams come true. They may not realize what they need to complete a degree and when they shift majors or schools they lose credits and delay their graduation.
• Vocational preparation of non-college bound young adults is essential, since finding a job after high school is difficult in the skilled workforce of the US. Unemployment in this group reaches 20%.
• Work-study apprenticeships in Germany are successful in training students who don’t care to go to college, but can learn complex jobs with mentors. Businesses provide financial support, since the program guarantees well-trained employees. Apprentices pass qualifying exams and become certified as skilled workers, earning union wages. This allows young people to establish themselves in a well-paid career with benefits and advancement possibilities. A similar program could be useful in the US to allow for smoother transitions from school to work for youth who aren’t going to college.
What are the theories of life span development? Explain how you would use your understanding of one of the major developmental theories to deal with each of the difficulties listed below: Your infant daughter puts everything in her mouth, including the dog’s food. Your eight-year-old son is failing math; all he cares about is baseball. Your two-year-old daughter refuses to wear the clothes you pick for her every morning, which makes getting dressed a twenty-minute battle. More items...