The Journey of Adulthood (6th Edition)

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9780131888326: The Journey of Adulthood (6th Edition)

This best-selling book discusses the aspects of “successful aging,” covering growth and development from young adulthood to old age, and the impact that culture, gender, and individual differences have on these processes. Its conversational and positive tone keeps readers interested in the subject matter, as it encourages them to apply the concepts of the book to their own lives. It presents research findings, theories, and models from the fields of developmental psychology, social psychology, health psychology, sociology, and others to discuss topics of prevention, compensation, gains, and losses. For psychologists, sociologists, and gerontologists interested in a valuable resource for information about the aging process.

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From the Publisher:

Using a personal, conversational style -- and an exceptionally well-balanced blend of research, theory, and practical applications -- this text explores the ways in which adults change or develop in both shared and individual ways over the full range of adult years -- from 18 to 100 or more. Comprehensive in scope, it explores all aspects of the process of development -- physical, cognitive, social, personality, and spiritual development -- and the biological, psychological, or social forces or laws that may govern the changes we see among adults.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

AN OPENING NOTE FROM BARBARA BJORKLUND

The Journey of Adulthood is now in its fifth edition and it continues to capture the dynamic process of adult development, from young adulthood to old, old age. It continues to be based on large-scale research findings and theories of human development, but because diversity increases with age, I have also included more studies of smaller group differences such as gender, culture, race, and socialeconomic status. I have sought a similar balance in seeking out the latest research findings while retaining some of the classical studies by pioneers in the field. And I have accompanied this sometimes medicinal taste with a spoonful of honey—a little personal warmth and humor. After all, I am an adult in the middle years of this journey, following my parents who are in their 80s and looking back at my children in their 30s.

The first three editions of this book were written by Helen Bee and although she has retired and is no longer involved in the 4th and 5th editions, the core of the book is still hers. She remains the author emeritus of this series and I maintain her focus and tone. I have also retained some of her comments and stories which I identify with her name; the comments and stories that use the first person "I," are mine. I hope there is no confusion.

The first two chapters of this book contain the basics for the course—the definitions, methods, and grand theories of adult development. They lay the groundwork for the following chapters which present a topical overview of adult development. In each of these seven chapters, I cover a topic of adult development using recent research, classic studies, current theories, new directions, and practical applications. In the last five chapters I present some topics that are not as easily classified into traditional fields of study but instead draw upon a number of areas covered in the previous chapters, such as the growth of meaning, the stress encountered at different stages of adulthood, overall views of adult development, and coping with death. In these chapters, to use Helen Bee's terms, "I try to pull the threads together and tie up loose ends."

NEW IN THIS EDITION

The fifth edition reflects three types of changes—changes in the field of adult development, changes in the world around us, and changes in the academic settings in which this book is used.

Changes in the Field of Adult Development

The field of adult development has widened and this edition reflects this trend, including information from various medical and biological sciences, sociology and social psychology, women's studies, economics, educational and vocational psychology, anthropology, and clinical psychology, just to name a few, I have found common ground among these disciplines and when discrepancies appear, I have made judgments or suggested future research questions. Another change in the field that is reflected in this edition of The Journey of Adulthood is the international flavor that most sciences are adopting. This book features many studies conducted by international scholars and information about populations outside the U.S. I have also done some fine tuning in terminology and definitions which aligns this book more closely to recent changes in child and adolescent development writings.

Changes in the World Around Us

The world around us has changed drastically since the last edition of this book. As I write this preface, we in the U.S. are at "level orange" on the homeland security scale. We have just ended a war with Iraq and have started to rebuild that country. The horror of September 11 th, 2001 is still fresh in our minds. The economy is in a slump all over the world and many older adults have seen their investments dwindle to a fraction of their value five years ago. Many middle-aged adults have abandoned plans for early retirement. Although I try to maintain a positive tone in this book, these aspects of life are reality and I have considered them in selecting new topics to cover.

Other changes in the world are more positive, such as the increase in volunteer work among older adults, the strengthening of family bonds, the progress of women in the workplace, the progress in reversing some aspects of physical aging (and preventing others), and the overall news that aging is not nearly as bad as it was thought to be just a decade ago. All these are addressed in this edition of The Journey of Adulthood.

Changes in the Classroom Environment

Courses in adult development and aging have increased in number and are being offered at almost all colleges and universities. It is safe to say that graduates in almost all majors will be working in fields that deal with the changes that occur during adulthood. It is also safe to say that students in all majors will be dealing with the topic on a personal level, either with their family members or themselves. My students at Florida Atlantic University this semester are majoring in psychology, counseling, communications, nursing, pre-medical studies, pre-law, finance, social work, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and education. I no longer assume that my students will have the same basic knowledge of psychology that students had a decade ago. For that reason I include basic definitions of key terms in this book, clear explanations of relevant statistical methods, and details of classic theories. I meet the readers without assumptions of their backgrounds, but with respect for their intelligence and motivation. I firmly believe that it is possible to write clearly about complex ideas, and I follow Helen Bee in this tradition.

HIGHLIGHTS OF CHANGES AND ADDITIONS

Research and theories have been updated throughout the book. More emphasis has been placed on positive aspects of adult development such as long-term marriages, contribution of elders to other generations, benefits of a healthy lifestyle to physical and cognitive aging, benefits of family and social support on health.

Information on physical aging have been updated and topics now include information on the economics of health care for women, evidence for how racial discrimination affects health and health care, and what longitudinal studies of Catholic nuns tell us about aging.

Research on cognitive aging is updated and includes sections on judgment and decision making, the role of expertise, and how aging affects driving abilities (and voting). It also includes a new theory of long-term working memory in older adults and research on how formal schooling effects cognitive decline.

The social roles chapter features role transition theory, and the section on gender roles includes the debate on social role theory versus evolutionary psychology. Other roles that are featured are that of young adults who remain in their parents home (or return after leaving), grandparents raising grandchildren, and caregivers for infirm family members. It also includes material on the transition to the role of care receiver in older adulthood.

The relationship chapter includes new information on mate selection and how the criteria has changed over the past 50 years, research on long-term marriages from different racial and cultural groups, new material on late-life divorces and their effect on adult children, the changing role of grandparents, and how parental investment theory explains diversity in grandparent/grandchild relationships.

The chapter on work and retirement has been substantially rewritten and includes more information from vocational psychology. Gender differences in work patterns are discussed as well as their implications on women's retirement years. Also included are information on how genetics may affect career choice, the effects of work schedules on marriage, a new section on household work (and who does it), new material on the timing of retirement, and alternatives to retirement. How women approach retirement, lifestyle changes at retirement, and how retirement is done in other countries are also discussed.

The chapter on personality has been substantially rewritten and organized, updating the stability versus change question and adding new questions about the universality of personality traits and the roles of genetics, natural selection, and person-environment transactions. Erikson, Jung, and Maslow are covered and new extensions of their theories are discussed (de St. Aubin & McAdams on generativity, Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi on positive psychology, Ryan & Deci on self-determination theory, Ryff on positive psychological functioning).

The chapter on stress at different stages of adult life has been substantially rewritten to include new extensions of classic theories (women's tend-and-befriend reaction to stress versus the classic fight-or-flight reaction). A section is added on post traumatic stress disorder among combat veterans. Holocaust survivors (and their adult children); Hurricane Andrew survivors; child victims of crime (and their parents); stress in young adulthood (divorce) middle adulthood (parental bereavement), and older adulthood (widowhood); and the buffering effect of social support (and some negative effects too).

Overall, the book has been updated where needed, but classic studies have been retained, often because they have stood the test of time and no new work has been done to call for changes. Several chapters have been substantially rewritten, all the openings are new as are the Critical Thinking Questions and the Suggested Readings. The number of suggested readings has increased and they are arranged in three categories: Classic Studies, which are pioneering work on the chapter topic, Scholarly Articles,<...

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