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Physical Growth & Development for Early Adults

author image Tina Pashley
In 2008, Tina Pashley put her passion for animal advocacy to work by writing a weekly pet adoption and care column in the Martinsville Chronicle. She currently contributes to two consumer advocacy websites and several healthcare publications. Pashley holds a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Phoenix.
Physical Growth & Development for Early Adults
Teenage boys and girls on a roller coaster. Photo Credit Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images

A common misconception about human growth and development is that it stops when you become an adult. While some individuals will stop growing before age 18, many people, particularly men, continue to grow physically well into their mid-20s. Unlike physical development, cognitive development is a lifelong journey, as you continue to grow and develop mentally with age.

Female Physical Growth

Females typically begin growth spurts before males during childhood. As females reach the teenage years, their growth often slows, while young males continue to experience growth spurts long after females have reached peak height. As a female begins to produce large quantities of estrogen at the end of puberty, growth plates begin to close, meaning she has reached her adult height, MSNBC.com explains.

Male Physical Growth

Unlike females, males often continue to grow taller past age 18. Genetics ultimately determine at what rate a person will grow and at what age growth ceases. Like women, men also begin producing larger quantities of estrogen at the end of puberty; the abundance of this hormone in the blood causes growth plates to close. However, because men often go through puberty after women, many continue to grow taller even in early adulthood.

Brain Development

The frontal lobe of the brain continues to grow and develop during early adulthood. This area is responsible for judgment, a concept that contributes to a person's mental maturation. In your early 20s, you will begin to more clearly distinguish right from wrong, beyond than the basic concept learned in childhood. The frontal lobe also helps speech functions and muscle movement, helping you become more coordinated and agile.

Cognitive Development

Erik Erikson is a well-respected cognitive development theorist who elaborated on development throughout an adult's life through his teachings. According to his theory, early adulthood is a time in which a person either seeks companionship to begin a family, or rejects intimacy, causing isolation that could potentially last throughout several stages of life. Relationships during early adulthood typically revolve around close family and friends, Learning-Theories.com explains.

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