Monday, December 24, 2012

The Senior Citizen in Late Adulthood

The Senior Citizen in Late Adulthood

The most rapidly growing age group in the United States is the elderly, or those individuals age sixty-five and older (Wood, Wood, & Boyd, 2011). This period of development is known as late adulthood. Significant physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional developmental processes occur during this stage (McGraw Hill, 2011). In order to understand the changes in late adulthood, I interviewed an eighty year old female who I will call the participant when referring to her. The participant was married in 1950 and had two sons, one born in 1954 and the second in 1955. The participant became a widow after fifty-four years of marriage. She was willing to discuss her early adulthood as well as her late adulthood with me.

Notable and Surprising Aspects of Interview
The participant was willing to discuss any topic about adulthood with me, even adding additional information to some questions. The general assumption in the past was that older adults are forgetful and confused. Gerontologists now have research to the contrary (McGraw Hill, 2011). During my interview with the participant, I noticed that she remembered generally more information from the past than one usually would think. The participant admitted during the interview that she sometimes calls people by the wrong name. However, she said that this was a characteristic that she has always possessed. Another view that generally has been accepted is that older adults become physically, psychologically, and socially withdrawn. This is known as the disengagement theory of aging (McGraw Hill, 2011). However, through my interview with the participant, I did not see this theory as true. The participant still participates in physical activities as well as social activities. The participant still works full - time hours as a customer service manager at Walmart. She is on her feet for eight or more hours a day approximately five days a week. She relays that her job helps her to remain active. Many of the elderly are placed in a retirement or nursing home. The participant still lives at home; the same home her husband built for her over sixty years ago. The participant also primarily drives herself around. This fact means that she still has good vision as well as mental ability.

Overall Functioning of Participant
Gerontologists John Rowe and Robert Kahn proposed the concept of successful aging in 1998 (Wood, Wood, & Boyd, 2011). An individual is considered to successfully have aged if he or she effectively integrates his or her level of functioning in the three areas of development: physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional. After listening to the participant relay events from her past and present, I believe her to have successfully aged. She remains physically active, engages in mentally stimulating activities, and has an active social support system. The participant stated in the interview that she enjoyed walking in her early adulthood as well as now. She also stated that her health was in good condition. According to Wood, Wood, and Boyd, the elderly are “enjoying life in relatively good health” (2011, p. 325). The participant enjoys reading and crossword puzzles. Researchers believe that individuals who keep mentally and physically active tend to retain his or her mental skills in late adulthood (Wood, Wood, & Boyd, 2011). Filial responsibility is the obligation an adult child believes he or she should take care of his or her parents (Berger, 2011). The participant stated that her children help her by doing things for her and particularly helping with the upkeep of her home. I believe that this type of relationship with her children benefits the participant in several aspects of her life. According to Berger, emotional support from children is often more crucial than financial support (2011). Based upon the information provided by the participant, I believe she receives emotional support from her children; this in turn benefits her aging. The participant also stated in the interview that many of her children’s friends consider her to be a mother figure for him or her. In turn, these relationships aid her aging process. She not only has her biological children to help her with tasks, but she also has her children’s friends to help her. The most successful elderly are those who maintain the same interests and activities from middle adulthood. This is called the activity theory of aging (McGraw Hill, 2011).  The participant still enjoys the same activities now as she did in middle adulthood. She stated that during both stages she enjoyed activities such as walking, reading, attending cook outs, playing Bingo, and playing cards.  

The process by which a person examines and evaluates his or her life is called life review (McGraw Hill, 2011). When I asked the participant about what she believed gave life meaning, I think she somewhat went through this process. She had to examine and evaluate her own life. She came to the conclusion that the most meaningful moments in her life dealt with her interactions with loved ones. She is happy and satisfied being surrounded by family and friends. Several years ago, it was believed that late adulthood was a period of inactivity, physical, and mental decline (McGraw Hill, 2011). Gerontologists believe that the elderly are capable of active and healthy lives. The stereotype of old age is quickly vanishing.  As evidenced in my interview with the participant, it is possible for a person in his or her late adulthood to enjoy the same interests as in middle adulthood. It is also possible for him or her to have very good physical health, retain his or her cognitive health, and an outgoing social circle. Because of these three events, a person can have aged successfully.


Berger, K. S. (2011). The developing person through the life span (8th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

McGraw Hill (2011). Psychsmart. New York, NY: Author.

Wood, S. E., Wood, E. G., & Boyd, D. (2011). the world of psychology (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc/Allyn and Bacon.

Using someone else's work without giving proper credit, is plagiarism. If you use my work, please reference it.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Middle Childhood and Adolescence

Middle Childhood and Adolescence Development
{A collaboration between M. Lewis, C. Swarmer, A. Lancaster, K. Hoffman, and T. Cross}

     During the time of adolescence there are many stages that affect middle childhood. There are positive and negative consequences of the different development choices during this time frame of life.
     Essential changes in peer relationships middle childhood are ability to have a healthy relation of social skills with their peers (Berger, 2011).  In addition, as middle childhood this group often socialize within their same sex types.  Relationships between peers develop in social settings and within background, environments, and like mind ability to interactions for positive developmental skills.  In most of these settings within a child early stage of childhood these are usually important steps in becoming close with his or her peers, and leading to building friendships, which begin a path well into early adulthood at this age are easily influence.  In this influence a child with a healthier family base are less likely to become influence into unhealthy behavior patterns versus those who grow up in neglect households.  Early childhood self-esteem level varies from older generations most area base on material possession rather than personal connections. 
     Therefore, the changes begin to show itself more as middle childhood relations with their peers about impress one another with things or perhaps image to fit in with peers. This seem in compares to the developmental stage of Erikson.   In addition, they begin to compare what they have in common for example, clothes, tennis shoes, and toys, technical devices like Wii or play stations.  As adolescent developmental stages, changes kick in the identifying of puberty, sexual identity, become important, and with this age group peer-pressure become inevitable.  The use of drugs, alcohol, and sex forced topics on some to become a part of groups this stems in peer-pressure (Berger, 2001).  Middle childhood changes show what they can do better than a friend can, and too versus an adolescence changes reflect inward into which they are and a part of crowds to become popular among their peers (Berger, 2001).    Adolescents can take on a job the marks their beginning place in society; this becomes a part of adolescence individuality.  In addition, other importance at this stage stems into early adulthood, and lead to education as well as their beginning their own family.  
       Egocentrism is different in each person. Egocentrism does start at childhood and goes into when a child hits the adolescence stage of life. Egocentrism is when a thought and problems are based by one’s thinking and by the examination of themselves. Egocentrism helps the child to develop a clear and consistent identity. During this time, the child will lead to self-absorption, which helps to find their identity and to help their decision-making. There are two components during egocentrism. The two components are imaginary audience and the personal fable. The imaginary audience is the person that is thinking about him or herself and thinking about the thoughts of other people.
     Personal fable complements the imaginary audience. The person in the personal fable starts to consumes how adolescences act, dress, and how special that they can be. During this, many people start to exaggerate on what they believe. During this stage, this is where the children take big risk such as unprotected sex, taking drugs, drinking while driving, and so on. During this stage, this is when many people believe that it will not happen to them.
     During adolescence, psychosocial changes are also experienced along with physical and mental development (Kiran-Esen, 2012). Adolescents become more independent from their parents and desire to spend more time with peers. A primary experience during this time of development is joining a peer group. These peers become a source of influence and support (Kiran-Esen, 2012). Peer pressure can be defined as “the encouragement to conform to one’s friends or contemporaries in behavior, dress and attitude” (Berger, 2011, p. 442). Peer pressure is commonly considered negative; however, it can be positive as well. Peer pressure can come in the form of joining sports or studying as well as it can be trying drugs or breaking the law. Adolescents are more likely to conform to peer standards than children do (Santrock, 2010). Around the eighth or ninth grades, adolescents are more likely to conform to peers, especially to the antisocial standards.
     Adolescents organize themselves in different ways. These types of peer groups have a more important role in adolescents than children (Santrock, 2010). Cliques are one type of peer group. Cliques are close friends, loyal to one another, exclude outsiders, and are usually the same sex and age. Crowds are another type of peer group. These are larger groups; they have something in common, and are not necessarily friends (Berger, 2011). Crowds identify with a common identity such as ethnicity or interests. Both types of peer groups provide social control and social support by comments, exclusion, and admiration.
     Adolescents use selection and facilitation to form peer relationships. Adolescents choose his or her friends; not always wisely but never randomly (Berger, 2011). Adolescents choose a clique based on values and interests. Past relationships may be abandoned if they do not follow the same clique. Adolescents facilitate destructive and constructive behaviors (Berger, 2011). The facilitation process helps adolescents act in ways they would not act on their own.
     The way peers think influences adolescents more than what they do. Adolescents have a desire for immediate reward and are more influenced by the presence of peers therefore, taking more risks when in the presence of peers (O'Brien, Albert, Chein, & Steinberg, 2011). Adolescents uncertain about his or her social identity, such as low self-esteem and high social anxiety, are more likely to conform to peers. Adolescents are also more likely to conform to peers when around someone perceived to have a higher status.
     Between the ages of 10 and 25 drug experimenting starts and is the leading cause of the high rate of adolescent dropouts. Adolescents are the most curious and most vulnerable human beings. They tend to experiment with drugs because of peer pressure and the because of growing pains adolescents face. Adolescents are hormonal and immature. This makes experimenting with drugs during adolescents hazardous. Drugs offer satisfying sensations that are “fun” for the immature mind of adolescents. Adolescents are not aware that they are not invincible and do not perceive that drugs are harmful.
     Cigarettes, alcohol, prescription medicines, fumes from aerosol containers, cleaning fluid, and even markers are used to produce the warranted sensations adolescents are searching for from using drugs. These types of drugs are assessable to youth because they can buy them at a local store or in his or her parents’ medicine cabinet. Other drug use involves illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. However, in most cases youth retreat from drug use by the age of 18.
     Gender differences pertaining to drug experimenting are reinforced by social constructions about proper male and female behavior (Berger, 2008). Studies of American high school children yield that adolescent boys use more drugs preferably cigarettes more often than girls do. Studies have found that cigarettes are most accessible and seem to be less harmful. However, tobacco impairs digestion and nutrition, and slows down growth in adolescents. Girls tend to start drinking alcohol at a younger age than boys start to use cigarettes. Drinking at an early age leads to abuse and impairs memory and self-control by damaging the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, perhaps distorting the reward circuits of the brain (Berger, 2008).
     Drug use in adolescents can be detrimental. Drug use can lead to addiction, brain damage, and the lack of brain maturation more pronounced in adolescents than in adults. Drug use can also lead to internal organ damage because organs continue to mature and drug-using teenagers who appear full-grown may damage their developing hearts, lungs, and reproductive systems (Berger, 2008). Studies show that the experimenting phase leads to abuse and eventually an addiction to drugs that has to be fulfilled to avoid believing that he or she is ill.
       Adolescence is a time where a child's body is drastically changing. Some adolescents begin puberty around age ten, which is considered young. These individuals face many pressures when it comes to dating, sexual issues, and changes within family relationships for a few reasons. First, an adolescent is faced with the pressure of dating once they begin being seen as a growing adult. As a girl begins to grow breasts she is faced with being teased by her classmates and hiding herself because of embarrassment. When an adolescent's body changes early, they often date people older than them because they are both more mature, physically and mentally, than those that are the same age. Second, as the maturing child begins to date, they are pressured into sexual relationships that are sexually active. This can put the individual at risk for many things they are still too young to prepare for, such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. Once a child begins dating and becomes sexually active due to increased pressure, there can easily be a noticeable change within the family relationships. Adolescents become egocentric during puberty because of the maturing of the brain which increases their level of self-consciousness (Berger, 2011). The brain maturation also causes young individuals to act out, become more selfish and concerned of their own feelings, as well as experiment with drugs and alcohol. These acts and changes in behavior can drastically affect the parent-child relationship in a negative way. Parents and children often fight, the child refuses to listen and does what they want, and the parent then punishes the child for acting out. Adolescence is different among each individual, as every person develops at different rates and in different ways. The pressures associated with dating, sex, and family relationships during this time can be difficult for a child because it is such a drastic change all at once that it is difficult to handle.
     There are many stages that have affected middle childhood but yet it seems that each and every one of us gets through it. We have learned about the different development choices that go on during this stage of life and also about adolescent egocentrism and the different types of pressure that is going on in middle childhood.

Berger, K. S. (2011). The developing person through the life span (8th ed.). New York,       New York: Worth Publishers.

Elkind, D. (1967). Egocentrism in Adolescence. Child Development , 38, 1025-1034.

Kiran-Esen, B. (2012). Analyzing Peer Pressure and Self - Effiacy Expectations Among Adolescents. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal , 40 (8), 1301-1309.

O'Brien, L., Albert, D., Chein, J., & Steinberg, L. (2011). Adolescents Prefer More Immediate Awards when in the Prescence of their Peers. Journal of Research on Adolescence (Blackwell Publishing Limited) , 21 (4), 747-753.

Santrock, J. W. (2010). Children (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Infancy and Early Childhood

This was a Power Point Presentation. Click the link below to view.

Infancy and Early Childhood

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