Developmental Stages of Adulthood: Changes in Body, Mind, and Relationships

Category: Disease, Growing Up
Last Updated: 30 Mar 2023
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Adulthood comes in various stages. Early and middle adulthood brings changes to the body and mind, as well as personality and social timing. Relationships and roles change throughout the growth of a person, and habits continue to grow. Early adulthood, otherwise known as emerging adulthood, can be considered another developmental stage (Berger K. S. (2010). Because there are more changes happening during this time, and a person is continuing to figure out himself and who he is becoming, could be the reason behind this term.

The personality changes that occur during early adulthood can be drastic in nature. Often times the newly found adult ventures off into the world anxious and excited for a change, and as a result his personality reflects this new attitude towards life. Social and intimate relationships during early adulthood and adulthood vary distinctly. The young adult will seek sexual gratitude or intimacy but not necessarily make a commitment. The older adult craves the commitment and emotional satisfaction of another person to share his life with (Berger K. S. (2010).

As a person ages the social aspect differs greatly from a younger adult. It is common for a younger adult to enjoy the nightlife and have plenty of friends. An older adult generally does not have as much in common with the younger adult since he may have small children and seeks friendships that have the same family situations. A midlife crisis can also occur during middle adulthood. This generally is between the ages of 40 and 50 for men and women and is a result of a freer lifestyle without children and a reevaluation of one’s life (Feldman).

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During the middle of an adult’s life, a person becomes more introspective and has changed to become more accepting of himself, and begins to see the positive side of difficult situations rather than focusing on the negative. During a person’s middle adulthood his parents may begin to require more attention and help. The roles reverse as the parent begins to age and the child often times needs to care for his parents due to various ailments. This is not uncommon for the middle adult, and is called the sandwich generation since he is caring for his parents as well as his own children.

The financial struggles and emotional distress can cause a mild depression because of this new responsibility (Troll, 1976). The parent needing care may also feel as they are becoming a burden on their family because they can see the added stress and responsibility it is creating to care for them. The early adult also experiences role changes. He is beginning to see the world in a new way and starting to take responsibility for himself. It is almost as though the young adult is thrown into the new world without much thought or knowledge of where to go from here.

Beginning college and trying to decide what career path to begin is a challenge many face during this time. Usually by the time he graduates college and is in his mid-twenties, he will have a grasp on being an adult and will begin to welcome new challenges. Health is a constant battle for both the early and middle adult. Although the younger adult does not realize the habits he is creating or the choices he makes will greatly affect his health at a later age. Generally a young adult is healthy and will begin a family when the time is right.

There are always cases of bad habits that will begin in early adulthood and cause issues for an older adult. Not taking care of one’s body properly by eating fatty foods or being careless will take its toll as a person ages (Berger K. S. (2010). The choices a young adult makes at a certain point in life and is thought to be fun and exciting will eventually catch up to him in later adulthood. The repercussions could possibly be frowned upon by himself because of some pain or suffering he is caused because of earlier actions.

Early and middle adulthood brings various changes and similarities to a person. From finding what career path a person wants to follow and marrying and starting a family, to the roles being reversed and caring for an aging parent, the adult will face many challenges throughout life. Social status and relationships grow and change as a person does also. This time could be thought to be the most challenging and rewarding time of a person’s life because of the fluctuations it creates.

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Developmental Stages of Adulthood: Changes in Body, Mind, and Relationships. (2016, Sep 02). Retrieved from

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