Typically, adolescents eagerly anticipate their transitions to young adulthood. They look forward to supporting themselves financially, living independently, and making their own decisions. As young adults transition into middle adulthood, they will likely assume increased responsibilities. Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman (2013) state, “middle adulthood has been referred to as the prime time of life” (p. 441). Typically, adults at this stage have accumulated some satisfaction from their maturity and accomplishments.
Though young and middle adulthood may be exciting and significant times in the human life span, they also present unique challenges for the individual. This week, you begin your study of young and middle adulthood by considering its biological aspects. You explore health issues and changes in physical development during this period. You also consider how your understanding of these issues might influence your assessments of and interactions with individuals in this segment of the life span.
Zastrow, C. H., & Kirst-Ashman, K. K. (2016). Understanding human behavior and the social environment (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Chapter 10, “Biological Aspects of Young and Middle Adulthood” (pp. 469-497)
Temcheff, C. E., Serbin, L. A., Martin-Storey, A., Stack, D. M., Ledingham, J., & Schwartzman, A. E. (2011). Predicting adult physical health outcomes from childhood aggression, social withdrawal and likeability: A 30-Year prospective, longitudinal study. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 18(1), 5–12.
Wilson, H. W., & Widom, C. S. (2011). Pathways from childhood abuse and neglect to HIV-risk sexual behavior in middle adulthood. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 79(2), 236–246.
Discussion: Classifications of Life-Span Development
When did you become an adult? Was it the day you graduated from high school? Or, was it the day you moved out of your parents’ or caregivers’ home? Your description of what it means to be an adult and how and when an adolescent transitions into adulthood may differ from that of your colleagues.
The authors of your course text, Zastrow and Kirst-Ashman, use the term young and middle adulthood to identify the life-span time period between age 18 and 65. This classification distinguishes this time in the life of an individual from childhood and adolescence and from the later years of adulthood.
Is the authors’ young and middle adulthood classification a useful one? What is especially useful and not useful about the classification? What changes would you make to the authors’ classification to make it more applicable to your role as a social worker?
For this Discussion, you analyze the author’s life-span classification and suggest ways to improve it.
By Day 3
A new classification (or possibly multiple classifications) to replace the authors’ young and middle adulthood classification
A definition of your new classification(s)
Support for your new classification(s). for example, this support may include references to theory and empirical research findings and should reflect the current understanding of biological, psychological, and social development
An implication your new classification might have regarding social work practice
By Day 5
Read a selection of your colleagues’ posts.
Respond to at least two colleagues whose classifications differ from your own by critiquing their classifications. In addition, suggest one way you might apply each colleague’s life-span classification to your social work practice.
Assignment: Middle Adulthood Health, Demography, and Social Work Practice
A health crisis can occur at any phase in an individual’s life span. General health concerns, however, tend to increase with age. As a social worker, your awareness of the biological aspects of middle adulthood will inform your work with clients in this life-span phase.
In this Assignment, you address the health concerns that clients may face as they reach middle adulthood. You also address the potential impact of the environment on the health of individuals in this life-span phase.
By Day 7
Submit a 2- to 4-page paper that includes the following:
A description of the health concerns that clients may face as they reach middle adulthood
An analysis that explains how factors such as race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and other demographic characteristics might impact at least three of the health concerns you identified
An explanation of how you, as a social worker, should take these potential health concerns and the environmental factors that influence them into account as you complete your assessments