World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Adults

Article Id: WHEBN0000196981
Reproduction Date:

Title: Adults  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Leptoconops torrens, Olive fruit fly, Orally disintegrating tablet
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Adults

For other uses, see Adult (disambiguation).

Template:TAFI

Biologically, an adult is a human being or other organism that is of reproductive age (sexual maturity). In human context, the term adult additionally has meanings associated with social and legal concepts; for example, a legal adult is a legal concept for a person who has attained the age of majority and is therefore regarded as independent, self-sufficient, and responsible (contrast with "minor"). In addition, human adulthood encompasses psychological adult development.

Definitions of adulthood are often inconsistent and contradictory; a person may be biologically an adult, and have adult behavior but still be treated as a child if they are under the legal age of majority. Conversely, one may legally be an adult but possess none of the maturity and responsibility that may define adult character.

An event relating to the oncoming of adulthood is coming of age, which encompasses passing a series of tests to demonstrate that a person is prepared for adulthood, or reaching a specified age, sometimes in conjunction with demonstrating preparation. Most modern societies determine legal adulthood based on reaching a legally specified age without requiring a demonstration of physical maturity or preparation for adulthood.

Some propose that moving into adulthood involves an emotional structuring of denial, suggesting this process becomes necessary to cope with one's own behavior, especially in uncomfortable situations, and also the behavior of others.

Biological adulthood

Historically and cross-culturally, adulthood has been determined primarily by the start of puberty (the appearance of secondary sex characteristics such as menstruation in women, ejaculation in men, and pubic hair in both sexes). In the past, a person usually moved from the status of child directly to the status of adult, often with this shift being marked by some type of coming-of-age test or ceremony.[1]

After the social construct of adolescence was created, adulthood split into two forms: biological adulthood and social adulthood. Thus, there are now two primary forms of adults: biological adults (people who have attained reproductive ability, are fertile, or who evidence secondary sex characteristics) and social adults (people who are recognized by their culture and/or law as being adults). Depending on the context, adult can indicate either definition.

Although few or no established dictionaries provide a definition for the two word term biological adult, the first definition of adult in multiple dictionaries includes "the stage of the life cycle of an animal after reproductive capacity has been attained".[2][3] Thus, the base definition of the word adult is the period beginning at puberty. Although this is the primary definition of the base word adult, the two word term biological adult stresses or clarifies that the original definition, based on the beginning of puberty, is being used.

Puberty and therefore biological adulthood generally begins around 10 or 11 years of age for girls and 11 or 12 years of age for boys, though this will vary from person to person.[4][5] Because the term adult is most often used without the adjective social or biological, and since the term is frequently used to refer to social adults, some writers have taken the meaning of the two word phrase biological adult to begin at the end of physical maturation rather than the onset of puberty.

Legal adulthood

Main article: Age of majority

Legally, adulthood means that one can engage in a contract. The same or a different minimum age may be applicable to, for example, parents losing parenting rights and duties regarding the person concerned, parents losing financial responsibility, marriage, voting, having a job, serving in the military, buying/possessing firearms (if legal at all), driving, traveling abroad, involvement with alcoholic beverages (if legal at all), smoking, sex, gambling (both lottery and casino) being a prostitute or a client of a prostitute (if legal at all), being a model or actor in pornography, running for President etc. Admission of a young person to a place may be restricted because of danger for that person, concern that the place may lead the person to immoral behavior, and/or because of the risk that the young person causes damage (for example, at an exhibition of fragile items).

One can distinguish the legality of acts of a young person, and of enabling a young person to carry out that act, by selling, renting out, showing, permitting entrance, participating, etc. There may be distinction between commercially and socially enabling. Sometimes there is the requirement of supervision by a legal guardian, or just by an adult. Sometimes there is no requirement, but just a recommendation.

With regard to pornography one can distinguish:

  • being allowed inside an adult establishment
  • being allowed to purchase pornography
  • being allowed to possess pornography
  • another person being allowed to sell, rent out, or show the young person pornography, see disseminating pornography to a minor
  • being a pornographic actor: rules for the young person, and for other people, regarding production, possession, etc. (see child pornography)

With regard to films with violence, etc.:

  • another person being allowed to sell, rent out, or show the young person a film, a cinema being allowed to let a young person (under 18) enter

The legal definition of entering adulthood usually varies between ages 16–21, depending on the region in question. Some cultures in Africa define adult at age 13.

According to Jewish tradition, adulthood is reached at age 13 (the minimal age of the Bar Mitzvah), for Jewish boys, for example, are expected to demonstrate preparation for adulthood by learning the Torah and other Jewish practices. The Christian Bible and Jewish scripture has no age requirement for adulthood or marrying, which includes engaging in sexual activity. The 1983 Code of Canon Law states, "A man before he has completed his sixteenth year of age, and likewise a woman before she has completed her fourteenth year of age, cannot enter a valid marriage".[6] According to The Disappearance of Childhood by Neil Postman, the Christian Church of the Middle Ages considered the age of accountability, when a person could be tried and even executed as an adult, to be age 7.

In most of the world, including most of the United States, parts of the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Wales), India and China, the legal adult age is 18 (historically 21) for most purposes, with some notable exceptions:

  1. Scotland (United Kingdom) and the Netherlands (16)
  2. British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Yukon Territory in Canada; Nebraska and Alabama in The United States, and South Korea (19)
  3. Indonesia and Japan (20)

See also

References

Template:Humandevelopment

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.