Early and Middle Adulthood: Roles and Development


The process of aging is not only limited to physical changes but also influences the psychological state of an individual. In every age, a person acquires new roles that define his or her behavior, beliefs, and norms. Sometimes, it may be difficult for an individual to adapt to a new lifestyle and multiple social statuses of an adult; however, such changes contribute to a person’s psychological growth. In this critical essay, two major social roles of early and middle adulthood are going to be analyzed together with other aspects of aging and moral development.

Main body

Adulthood is defined as a part of the life-cycle that starts approximately at the age of 24. According to the researchers, early adults are people aged 24 to 34 years old (Newman & Newman, 2017, p. 417). During this period of life, individuals tend to be more independent and start to rely on their decisions and choices to define the social environment they would like to participate in (Newman & Newman, 2017). In general, young adults become more interested in long-term romantic relationships and are physically and psychologically ready to start a family. Therefore, the role of a mate is one of the first adult statuses of an individual, and consequently, is significant for his or her inner development.

People in their twenties and thirties become more concerned about their relationships, as they start to expect preferable qualities from their potentional partner. Biological changes, such as high hormonal and sensual activity, also contribute to a person’s psychological development, and the function of reproduction becomes more significant for an individual. During romantic relationships before and after marriage, people demonstrate essential personality traits, such as responsibility and ability to care about others; they also tend to pay more attention to other people’s manner of behavior.

The attitudes towards the status of a mate have changed over time. Earlier, the roles of family members were separated more distinctively: for example, a woman’s primary responsibility was to run a house, while a man was to support the family financially. Nowadays, in some countries of the world, such traditions remain, while in certain cultures, men and women tend to share equal mate roles independently of gender. At the same time, the moral responsibilities of mates, such as care and mutual support, have always been in priority in any generation.

The role of a parent is another important social status that develops through both early and middle adulthood; however, the functions of parenthood may vary in different periods. When young people become parents, they experience a high degree of responsibility, as their children are incapable of caring about themselves. The dominant role of early adults is to become examples of behavior for their children and to share cultural, moral, and family values with the growing generation (Newman & Newman, 2017). The period of parenthood is crucial, as it influences the psychological development of parents and plays a significant role in shaping a child’s personality.

When a child reaches maturity, the role of a parent remains, though it may be characterized by different responsibilities. After an adult child defines his or her beliefs and values, it becomes more important for parents to provide a grown-up with emotional encouragement and financial support during the early stages of a child’s adulthood (Newman & Newman, 2017). This attitude towards parenthood has not changed significantly through generations. Nevertheless, some people say that young people tend to become independent earlier; therefore, their parents need to pay more attention to sharing their life experiences and preparing children for adulthood.

The changes in lifestyle and aging may be challenging for adults. During adulthood, an individual has to acquire multiple roles that are sometimes highly demanding: for example, a person may be a mate, a parent, and a colleague at the same time. Individuals sometimes feel that they do not fully meet the expectations of each role they have acquired (Newman & Newman, 2017). The fear of role loss, such as divorce or becoming unemployed, can also be a reason why many people feel anxious about aging and changing their social statuses (Newman & Newman, 2017). Such uncertainty and high demands of each role may lead to psychological distress.

Nevertheless, changing roles is necessary for the moral development of human beings. Before eventually choosing a long-term mate, young people may start to pay more attention to their behavior, critically evaluate the actions of others, and select individuals who they feel most comfortable with. Many psychologists also confirm that sufficient preparation is essential for some of the adult roles.

For example, special courses and self-education may help young people adjust to the new status of parents and become more confident and experienced in parenthood. As for middle adulthood, many people may face the difficulty of separating from their adult children and facing rapid aging (Newman & Newman, 2017). Therefore, they need to accept their new role as a parent of a grown-up and establish a positive environment and trustful relationships within their family to reduce the degree of nervousness.


To conclude, the psychological development of every adult person is closely connected with specific roles he or she needs to acquire. They can relate to social relationships, family, or a professional community, and each of them has requirements and models of behavior, which are sometimes difficult to follow. However, changing roles is important for developing essential personality features, defining the strengths and weaknesses of an individual, and gaining enough life experience, which will significantly influence further choices and decisions of a person.


Newman, B.M., & Newman, P.R. (2017). Development through life: A psychological approach. Cengage Learning.

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PsychologyWriting. (2023, August 3). Early and Middle Adulthood: Roles and Development. Retrieved from https://psychologywriting.com/early-and-middle-adulthood-roles-and-development/


PsychologyWriting. (2023, August 3). Early and Middle Adulthood: Roles and Development. https://psychologywriting.com/early-and-middle-adulthood-roles-and-development/

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"Early and Middle Adulthood: Roles and Development." PsychologyWriting, 3 Aug. 2023, psychologywriting.com/early-and-middle-adulthood-roles-and-development/.


PsychologyWriting. (2023) 'Early and Middle Adulthood: Roles and Development'. 3 August.


PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Early and Middle Adulthood: Roles and Development." August 3, 2023. https://psychologywriting.com/early-and-middle-adulthood-roles-and-development/.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Early and Middle Adulthood: Roles and Development." August 3, 2023. https://psychologywriting.com/early-and-middle-adulthood-roles-and-development/.


PsychologyWriting. "Early and Middle Adulthood: Roles and Development." August 3, 2023. https://psychologywriting.com/early-and-middle-adulthood-roles-and-development/.