The emerging adulthood stage is being studied in various ways now to include the lifespan theory and the resiliency theory. The lifespan development theory generally concentrates on the ontogenesis and the chronological mastery of skills, tasks, and abilities, while resiliency theory, in contrast, generally focuses the process of positive adaption when facing significant risk (Smith-Osborne, 2007). “Emerging adulthood is proposed as a new conception of development for the period from the late teens through the twenties, with a focus on ages 18-25” (Arnett, 2000, pg. 1). From my understanding, Arnett’s proposal is basically highlighting on the fact that there is a difference from “back in the day” to “current day” life experiences or achievements. “The reliance on traditional sociological markers that have served for over a century—stable job, independent domicile, financial self-sufficiency, marriage and children—is out of sync with the pace, direction, and even values of twenty-first-century life” (Gilmore, 2019, pg. 1). Arnett explains this by showing how the age of marriage has shifted and how childbirth age patterns has increased. The emerging adulthood phase is when an individual is acting independently in contradiction of social norms.
The first article dealt with homeless emerging adults and how the resiliency theory played a role in the case study. Young adults were interviewed, recruited, and analyzed to find four primary themes amongst the homeless young adults. Individual strengths, positive life perspectives, external social supports, and coping strategies are all themes that contributed to their resilience while living on the streets. Most emerging adults were facing multiple barriers while growing up and they were exposed to traumatizing events which cause most of them to flee their home/family. the resiliency theory reported how these individuals adapted to their new circumstances by learning how to find resources, establishing new relationships and who to trust, and developing a “street smart” skill (Thompson, Ryan, Montgomery, Lippman, Bender & Ferguson, 2016). This case study proposed that using a strength-based method would empower these individuals to use their resilient capabilities to build a self-efficient mentality that offers them a way out of homelessness. One major shortcoming of this study is that the recruits were from one specific city and were mainly Caucasian males. If the study would have been more worldwide, the results may have shown various results. Another factor that may hinder this type of research is that many homeless individuals develop mental health concerns and do not share the full extent of their situation which would alter the results as well. This study reflects how the cognitive and personality development does not always take place in a normal age range or in sequential order and human development remains more fluid throughout a lifespan.
After high school comes college, for any normal trajectory; however, emerging adults shift the nature of life span development. “In the United States, approximately 30% of high school graduates between the ages of 16 and 24 were not enrolled in higher education in 2016 (U.S. Department of Labor, 2017), and approximately 41% of those who did pursue college did not complete their four-year degree within a six-year time frame” (ZOROTOVICH & JOHNSON, 2019, pg. 2). This article aimed at understanding how emerging adults who do not pursue higher education enter adult role transitions versus those emerging adults who attend college and enter adult role transition. Participants were recruited around a mid-sized metropolitan area and consisted of 284 people. Standard multiple regression techniques were conducted on the participants in which outlined adult dimensions using a degree measure over test of 31 questions. The results showed that age, gender, race-ethnicity, education status, and conventional indicators of adulthood overall predicted the time of entrance into the emerging adulthood phase and those who entered adult role transitions. The study found that nonstudents were less likely to endorse the age of possibilities dimension versus those who attended college and held onto more optimistic views of their future. One shortcoming of this study is that the questionnaire was online and due to some demographics, it may have restricted some participants. This study reveals how nonstudents do not portray a vision of their future such as a college student suggesting that a college educated student enters an adult role quicker compared to a nonstudent. It also suggests that certain groups and demographics play a role in opportunities in development in a lifespan. Similar to the previous study, it shows how development is more fluid throughout a lifespan and it is not restricted by age.
Arnett, J.J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55(5), 469-480. doi: 10.1037//0003-066X.55.5.469
Bernstein, D. M. (2018). Lifespan theory of mind: A call for broader perspectives and more integration. Zeitschrift Für Psychologie, 226(2), 85–86. https://doi-org.proxy-library.ashford.edu/10.1027/2151-2604/a000324
Gilmore, K. (2019). Is emerging adulthood a new developmental phase? Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 67(4), 625–653. https://doi-org.proxy-library.ashford.edu/10.1177/0003065119868680
Mossler, R. A., & Ziegler, M. (2016). Understanding development: A lifespan perspective. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education.
Smith-Osborne, A. (2007). Life span and resiliency theory: A critical review. Advances in Social Work, 8(1), 152-168. Retrieved from http://journals.lupul.edu/index.php/advancesinsocialwork/article/view/138/139 (Links to an external site.)
Thompson, S. J., Ryan, T. N., Montgomery, K. L., Lippman, A. D. P., Bender, K., & Ferguson, K. (2016). Perceptions of resiliency and coping: Homeless young adults speak out. Youth & Society, 48(1), 58–76. https://doi-org.proxy-library.ashford.edu/10.1177/0044118X13477427 (Links to an external site.)
ZOROTOVICH, J., & JOHNSON, E. I. (2019). Five Dimensions of Emerging Adulthood: A Comparison between College Students, Nonstudents, and Graduates. College Student Journal, 53(3), 376–384.
Life span development is known better known as the change of human growth over a life cycle. Adulthood is when an individual comes into their own, and finds out more about what they want their ideal life to be like. Emerging adulthood begins at the age of 18 years old and usually lasts up until the age of 25 (Arnett, J. J, 2000). According to the article Life Span and Resiliency Theory by Alexa Smith Osborne, the major types of developmental theories include biological, psychodynamic, behavioral and social learning, cognitive, moral and spiritual, and those influenced by systems, empowerment, and conflict theory (Smith-Osborne, A, 2007). Sigmund Freud was one of the theorists to shed light on the psychosexual theory of lifespan development. His theory focused on how adults develop through childhood. Freud believed that most of our personality traits and behaviors began to take place at the age of 5. I’d argue that Freud’s five-stage psychosexual theory correlates with the resiliency theory in several ways. The resiliency theory is a theoretical framework that focuses on childhood and adolescence of traits and events that result in outcomes of later life.
Erik Erikson was another theorist of lifespan development. Erikson placed his focus on the psychosocial theory of life span development. His proposal was that the development of personality occurs through one lifespan which differs from Freud’s theory of personality development during childhood. Erikson studied the impact of conflict and the way conflict can affect someone’s developmental growth. Success or failure of the conflicts that we encounter can determine the overall functioning of a human being. This was a concept that Erikson believed to be true. Erikson was able to see this when an individual developed interaction and adaptation to their immediate social environment as well as to the larger society, culture, and historical context. The life span theory utilized the concept of ontogenesis which is the chronological unfolding of human development. Erikson introduced society to the concept of epigenesis. Epigenesis described human development as a partial process that eventually became whole.
The shortcomings of the resiliency theory approach include the unsuccessful personality outcome that can be the reality for someone individuals due to intellectual disabilities. Their ability to successfully adapt to life tasks in the face of social disadvantage or highly adverse conditions will not always be as easy as disabled persons. The strength of resiliency theory would be the proper coping techniques that allow people to navigate their way through crisis or uncomfortable situations. In other words, people who demonstrate resilience are people who have an optimistic attitude and are able to balance negative emotions with positive ones. The resiliency theory also provides predictive and explanatory constructs relevant to healthy development by social workers in concert with other theoretical perspectives, such as then ecosystem perspective and systems theory. The shortcomings of life span development include the expansion of understanding personality development through the life span. A weakness of this theory would be the failure to address stage shifts and account for new forms within each stage.
Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55(5), 469–480. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.55.5.469 (Links to an external site.)
Smith-Osborne, A. (2007). Life span and resiliency theory: A critical review. Advances in Social Work, 8(1), 152-168. Retrieved from http://journals.iupui.edu/index.php/advancesinsocialwork/article/view/138/139 (