The Physical Psychosocial and Cognitive Changes that are Associated with Early Adulthood (20-40) Years

The Physical Psychosocial and Cognitive Changes that are Associated with Early Adulthood (20-40) Years

The early adulthood period comes with many changes in an individual who attains the age of 20-40. The typical changes experienced during this development period are common to both sexes, except for the physical changes (Bleidorn, 2015). During this period of development, there is progress in maturity and the onset of general physical deterioration. In this paper, we will look into the physical, psychosocial, and cognitive changes associated with this development group of individuals.

Physical changes occurring in the 20-40 age group

These are changes that involve the physical makeup, ability as well as appearance of an individual. During early adulthood, individuals are in their peak physical abilities. All their physical frame is fully developed, and there is vigor as well as absolute ability. (Corder et al., 2019). The body muscles are strong and are up to tasks that cannot be done by any other human developmental stage.

Apart from physical strength, there is also swiftness in reaction time.  Individuals here are not sluggish as the after-age groups but also not weak as the presiding developmental stages, in their reaction not only the speed but also the accuracy. At the age of 20-40 years, there is an outstanding cardiac function. Their heartbeat and circulatory systems are very normal and functional (Fondell et al., 2018).

Physical Changes

Another change that also occurs towards the end of this development stage is the aging process’s beginning. There is a reduction in the reproductive capabilities that is more marked out in the females. There are some incidences of blurred visions and changes in the skin (Nimrod & Ben-Shem, 2015).

Psychosocial changes in early adulthood

These are the changes that occur in individual mental health and behavior due to social factors’ influence. It involves the conditioning of one individual’s health by the existing social structures that surround them. In this stage of development, there is what we call intimacy and isolation. Individuals in this stage tend to explore individual relationships, love relations with others more so people of the opposite gender (Steinberg, Cauffman & Monahan, 2015).

In this endeavor to find love, two resultant outcomes are dependent on the success of the relationship or failure. When the explored relationship is successful, there is a development of a healthy intimate relationship, while failure automatically yields loneliness and isolation. The individuals who make it a success in this stage always enter into more enduring relationships that are very secure.

Some problems are encountered in this development stage, which is dependent on the individual sense of identity. This factor plays a vital role in the development of intimate relations. The successful individuals here entail those who clearly understand their identity, which governs their choices and determine what they want. Studies show that most people who end up in loneliness, isolation, and even depression, and other emotional problems are associated with poor knowledge of themselves during this development stage of their lives (Newman and Newman, 2017).

When individuals in this stage of life make successful relationships, it develops into long-lasting virtue known as love. Which more often than not leads to marriages.

Cognitive changes associated with the age group of (20-40) years.

This is the development of the mental abilities of an individual. The thinking process is the ability to make the thoughts critical. This period is also known as the post-formal thought, for it is at par with the everyday loose operational thoughts associated with late adolescence. During this period in life, the thoughts bear practical objections that are a result of their experience. The lines of thought are abstract but bear with them the understanding of the intellectual complexities and the perspectives that are associated with them (Uda et al., 2015)

In this stage, thoughts are more individualistic, and the individual bears responsibility for his/her thoughts. They are more often realistic and practical; in this stage, adolescents’ loose thoughts are no longer realized. The thinking lines are credible and bear with them the sign of maturity. The decisions made by an individual in his/her 30s are based on what is necessary irrespective of the view or others’ opinions. In post-formal thought in early adulthood, there is an expression of logic and flexibilities in decision-making matters based on the considerations that are vital in every situation (Tucker-Drob, Brandmaier, & Lindenberger, 2019). This is strikingly opposed to the previous developmental stages with a very fixed line of thought and is not considered the necessities.

Another sticking cognition shift in this age changes from dual cognition. Only two sides considered, such as yes or no type of thinking, to multiplicity where some problems can be solved, and others’ solutions are yet to get known. The shift goes further from multiple to relativism, where other factors are also considered (Fondell et al., 2018)

In conclusion, the above illustrated factors are marked out changes in individuals at this particular development stage. As illustrated above, this is the ideal peak of all the developmental stages in human life.


Bleidorn, W. (2015). What accounts for personality maturation in early adulthood?. Current Directions in Psychological Science24(3), 245-252.

Corder, K., Winpenny, E., Love, R., Brown, H. E., White, M., & Van Sluijs, E. (2019). Change in physical activity from adolescence to early adulthood: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal cohort studies. British journal of sports medicine53(8), 496-503.

Fondell, E., Townsend, M. K., Unger, L. D., Okereke, O. I., Grodstein, F., Ascherio, A., & Willett, W. C. (2018). Physical activity across adulthood and subjective cognitive function in older men. European journal of epidemiology33(1), 79-87.

Nimrod, G., & Ben-Shem, I. (2015). Successful aging as a lifelong process. Educational Gerontology41(11), 814-824.

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

Steinberg, L. D., Cauffman, E., & Monahan, K. (2015). Psychosocial maturity and desistance from crime in a sample of serious juvenile offenders. Laurel, MD: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Tucker-Drob, E. M., Brandmaier, A. M., & Lindenberger, U. (2019). Coupled cognitive changes in adulthood: A meta-analysis. Psychological bulletin145(3), 273.

Uda, S., Matsui, M., Tanaka, C., Uematsu, A., Miura, K., Kawana, I., & Noguchi, K. (2015). Normal development of human brain white matter from infancy to early adulthood: a diffusion tensor imaging study. Developmental neuroscience37(2), 182-194.

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