Adolescence and Adulthood

Adolescence can be defined as a transional stage that encompasses changes in the mental and physical domains of human development which occur between childhood and adulthood. This transition is composed of social, biological and psychological changes.

The psychological or biological changes are believed to be the most easiest to detect and to measure objectively. Adolescence is also believed to be a very crucial stage of life where adolescents are confronted by very highly changing situations.

They become moody and ever stressed by the enormous changes occurring in their lives. Majority of these changes are observed in their sexual behavior following the commencement of puberty (Huston, Ripke, 2006, p.16). Changes also do occur at large in their social behavior with adolescents taking more time to spend with their peers as opposed to their parent something that was common in the previous stage.
It is a period of crucial decision making about their lives. It is a time they get to know which courses they take, which subjects to pursue, and which university join.
According to Erikson’s psychosocial theory, adolescence is a stage of emotional up evils which stems from emotionally disturbed adolescents. According to him adolescents typically under go a period of identity diffusion which encompasses strong feelings of uncernity.At this period, adolescents desire to achieve a sense of identity.
That is a state of being, feeling at home in one’s body and a sense of understanding where one is heading to with inward assuredness anticipated with a lot of recognition from others who count in their lives. However, adolescents find it hard to accomplish all this because of the on going rapid social and biological changes which are equally disturbing in the process of drawing decisions about life (Kroger, 2006, p.43).
In this context adolescents are said to be typically undergoing identity crisis a period of mental confusion about who they are or where they are heading to. According to Erickson it is important for adolescents to undergo this stage for it enables them to resolve their identity issues allowing them move on towards forming stable adult identities. The uncertainties or diffusions experienced by adolescents occur in four different patterns.
First is the intimacy stage where adolescents become afraid of giving their commitments to others in fear of losing identity. The second stage is the diffusion of time a period that is filled with disbelief  with the possibility that time may come with different changes and yet violent and fearful.
The third stage is the diffusion of industry which basically involves an inability to concentrate towards one activity or rather an enormous energy directed towards one single activity (Craig, 1992, p.28). The final stage in is the negative identity which is characterized by a snobbish or a scornful hostility towards the duties offered as proper and desirable by ones family and community.
According to Erikson, these changes take different roots in both boys and girls. Boys develop a sense of identity a bit earlier than girls. This difference is attributed to the fact that girls’ identity is dependent on their social status (Craig, 1992, p.69).
Eventual casual examinations explain that adults vary enormously from adolescents in the kind of paths taken in life. Majority of these differences occur as a result of changes in the levels of motivation, interest and personalities of individual or rather because of unexpected or unwanted life events.
However, most adults initiate more close life friends than adolescents, have jobs to attend to, have children to care for and this explains that they have more common themes to share in life. Therefore, adulthood is a composition of several life themes that help describe the common developmental milestones in adulthood.
In this view, Erikson also identified four levels that cover the childhood stage and further divided life during adolescence and adulthood into four other stages with each stage carrying its own developmental crisis (Zanden, 1978, p.51).
 According to him, each stage brings forth a negative or positive outcome. Those who experience negative outcomes find it hard to resolve conflicts occurring in succeeding stages. At adolescent, majority of individuals strive to overcome role confusion and fight for a sense of identity. At this point attention is focused on peers. At early adulthood most adults begin to commit themselves to intimacy and love relationships while others develops a sense of isolation with social focus being focused on establishing friendship.
At middle adulthood, adults begin to take up responsibility by propagating their own generation to care for and they also extend their concerns to caring for others in society at large (Kroger, 2006, p.103). Their focus at this stage is based on productivity and social work. Those who don’t achieve this become self –centred or stagnated.
Erikson refers these two extremities as stagnation versus generativity.Generativity in this context is used to refer to those with interest in establishing and guiding the next generation. This stage is later followed by a stage of self evaluation to gauge how successful one was. It begins with the onset of old age and focus is on humankind.

Craig, G (1992). Human Development. New York: Prentice Hall
Huston, A & Ripke, M (2006). Developmental Contexts in middle childhood: Bridges to Adolescence and adulthood. New York: Cambridge University Press
Kroger, J. (2006). Identity Development: Adolescence through Adulthood. New York: SABE
Zanden, J (1978) Human Development. London: Knopf

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