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PSYC 2103 Human Development OER: Unit 3

Welcome to Unit 3

Unit 3 highlights the remarkable changes in physical, cognitive. and socioemotional development from young adulthood (early 20’s-early 40’s) through late adulthood (early 60’s through death).  In young adulthood, we will venture through the multiple demanding roles of college, work, and family.  The value of marriage will be explored, as will the adjustment phases of divorce and blended families. 

The adult years (early 40’s to early 60’s) are marked by rapid physical changes, the redefinition of one’s identity, the empty nest, and the occurrence of being sandwiched between caring for two generations.  These trends, coupled with coping strategies, will be presented throughout the readings and in our class discussions.

Lastly, Unit 3 will explore the complexities of change in late adulthood (early 60’s through death).  This developmental phase is marked by a rapid change in cognitive function and the emergence of dementia and other mental health related issues.  The changes linked to health and vitality will be explored as we examine the metabolic changes that occur with senescence and age graded influences.  Lastly, the retirement options, care for our aging parents, and the stages of death and dying will be explored

Learning Objectives

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students will recognize and respect the complexity of sociocultural diversity and individual differences.
  • Students will recognize, compare, and apply the core domains of psychology.
  • Students will recognize the value of psychology in professional and personal domains.

Course Objectives

  • Describe and give examples from the literature of biological, physical, cognitive and socioemotional development as an ongoing set of processes, which involve change as well as continuity.
  • Recognize differing perspectives and points of view (e.g., psychoanalytic, cognitive, behavioral, social cognitive, ethological, and ecological theoretical perspectives.
  • Recall important developmental concepts and be able to recognize and apply these concepts in various situations, both normative as well as problematic.

Things to Consider

Below are a list of questions that should be considered as you read through the text and complete the activities

  1. Should couples stay together after infidelity? What does the research profess?
  2. As a psychologist, how would you assist older adults in coping with the unique challenges faced by divocees during middle to late adulthood?
  3. As a middle age adult, hypothetically reflect on your employability skills, identify your own career strategy and relate it to the job market.
  4. In what ways does Erikson’s theory work to promote Intimacy, Generativity and Ego Integrity.
  5. Discuss the difference between primary and secondary aging. What are some methods for slowing the aging process?
  6. When you are 75, what will matter most in your life?
  7. As a psychologist, how would you help a widow or widower to connect with a support group to deal with the loss of a loved one? What strategies would you use to ease their suffering?
  8. As a health care provider, how would you advocate for a terminally ill person’s desire for hospice care?
  9. What advances have we seen in the diagnosis and treatment of dementia, namely Alzheimer’s disease?
  10. As an older adult, what is an important piece of advice that you would give to a younger person?

Young Adulthood: Early 20s to Early 40s

Parents of Emerging Adults Interview

For this assignment, you need to interview the parent of an emerging adult (18 – 25). Examples of questions to discuss, which are based off of research by Arnett & Schwab (2013), are found below. For your paper, summarize your interview experience. Then, identify and explain at least three specific course concepts or principles that are relevant to your interview experience. For each concept or principle, explain how your understanding of this information enhanced your experience.


    1. How often are you in contact with your emerging adult child?
    2. What means do you most frequently use to keep in contact (face-to-face, phone calls, texting, social media, etc.)?
    3. How has your relationship changed with your emerging adult child over time?
    4. How much financial support do you provide to your child? How does this compare with what your parents provided when you were in your twenties?
    5. What are the main sources of conflict, if any, that you have with your child at this stage of life?
    6. What are the main worries and concerns that you have about your child?
    7. Which of the following factors do you consider to be important in reaching adulthood? (accepting responsibility for oneself; becoming financially independent; making independent decisions; finishing education; getting married; move out of parents' house)
    8. Do you see your child as an adult?
    9. Many people believe that young people today take longer to reach adulthood than 30 or 40 years ago. Do you see this as positive, negative, or both? Why?

Middle Adulthood: Early 40s to Early 60s

Middle Adulthood Interview

Interview someone that is between the ages of 40 – 60. Use the questions below, as other questions of your choosing, to gain a better understanding of development that has occurred up to this stage of life. In your paper, summarize your interview experience and share your general impressions about it. Then, identify and explain at least three specific course concepts or principles that are relevant to your discussion. For each concept, explain how your understanding of this information enhanced your experience.


  1. What is the best part about your current stage of life? What is the worst?
  2. How have you changed since you were in your twenties and thirties?
  3. Do you consider yourself to be old? In your opinion, what makes someone “old”?
  4. How have your priorities changed over the past twenty years?
  5. Are you married? If so, how has your marriage relationship changed over the years?
  6. Do you have children? If so, in what ways have you changed as a result of being a parent? How has your relationship with your children changed over the years?
  7. How is your life different than you thought it would be when you were younger?
  8. Have you experienced any changes in your career or job description? If so, what kind of impact have those changes had on your life?

Reel Theory

Choose a film or television episode which focuses on one or multiple character(s) who are in the middle adulthood and/or late adulthood range. What you choose should be dense with class concepts and references to theory. You should have a minimum of three course concepts that you refer to in the viewing. Your description should show your understanding of the concept or theory and include an explanation of how the episode or film demonstrates and supports the concept. The more you elaborate and provide details, the better. Be sure to provide the name of the film or television show, and if it is the latter, the season and episode number. Describe scenes and the characters involved: do not assume I have seen the show!

Late Adulthood: Early 60s to Death

Activity Options

Option 1: Elderly Interview

Choose an elderly individual who no longer has children in the home, such as one of your grandparents, to interview. Create a list of 5 – 10 questions that you would like to ask this individual that will help him or her to reflect on life.

Summarize your experience and share your general impressions about it. After your introduction, identify and explain at least three specific course concepts or principles that are relevant to your interview. For each concept that you identify, explain how your understanding of this information enhanced your experience.

Some examples of questions you might ask could be:

  1. What do you feel has been the most important success in your life so far?
  2. What are some of the turning points that you have experienced in your life?
  3. Who are some people that have had the most profound impact on your life? Why?
  4. What do you wish you had done differently?
  5. What do you wish you had known earlier in your life that you know now?
  6. What are some of the major difficulties that you experienced in your life? How did you deal with them?
  7. How have your views, philosophies, and the way that you see people changed over time?
  8. What advice would you give to people in different stages of life, such as teens, young adults, young parents, or older parents?
  9. What do you see as your life's purpose? How did you come to such a conclusion?
  10. What would you like your children and grandchildren to remember about you?

Option 2: The Aging Couple

The time after retirement can bring many changes to a couple’s relationship. Before beginning this project, read the section of your text on the aging couple.

In this research project, you will need to interview both members of an elderly couple. You will want to first interview each person separately and then talk to both together as a couple. You should, however, create your own questions to add to the interview.

After you have completed the interview, write a report listing your interview questions and summarizing the responses of the couple. In addition, you should address the following questions in your paper.


  1. How old were the members of the couple?
  2. How long have they known each other?
  3. If they are married, how long have they been married?
  4. When interviewed separately, were there any questions that they responded to differently?
  5. Do you believe they are happy with each other? Why or why not?
  6. If they are happy, to what would you attribute their relationship success?
  7. How do you think their responses would differ from a couple in their twenties, thirties, or forties?
  8. What did you learn about relationships in late adulthood?

Supplemental Readings and Videos

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