Thursday, September 07, 2006

intimacy v. isolation and other theories

I'd like everyone's imput about a project I am currently working on. I am researching the social and emotional needs of 20 to 40 year olds and will present my findings in the form of a presentation.

Questions to answer in my presentation:

• What are the developmental theories that address the social and emotional needs of 20-40 year olds?
• What are the strengths and shortcomings of these theories?
• How does a Christian worldview shape your understanding and application of these developmental theories?
• How would you apply these to church/family ministry?
• What are some relevant issues in current events or society that affect his age group?

What are some concerns you have with how the church ministers to this age group?

What are some socio-emotional phenomena that you notice in 20-40 year olds?

Two that come to mind already are prolonged adolescence and mid-midlife crises.

I need everyone's thoughts ... especially since most (if not all) of you find yourselves in this age group.

DISCLAIMER: this is not a way of slacking off and not doing the research. I have already done quite a bit ... but I'd like to plug into the brilliant minds of my readers who each have insights that I'd like to glean from. I'd like to interact with you and then publish my findings in a week or two.


Christina said...

Other possible sources: Craig Dunham and Doug Serven wrote a book TwentySomeone that addresses all of this stuff up until the 40s. He might have some great stats for you. His old website is and his new blog is
You can probably even find the book at the library.

ckhnat said...

ooo Good idea! Hey Carmen ... I think you have my copy of the book ... can you mail it to me?!!

mark said...

I fully agree with the quarter-life crisis & the prolonged irresponsibility. & let's not forget about the continued material-focused-ness of America.. Fathers showing love by giving things instead of themselves & the child's subsequent search for that lost intimacy through further materialism, or full rejection of it.
Here's some trends:
In Chicago there's the Lincoln Park 'yuppies'. College grads who make too much money with 'disposable incomes' that are usually blown on food, drink & clothing that are designed to attract the 'other'. They've given themselves over to the emptiness inside & in general they've let their dreams die.. some keep them up, but it's usually for that material lifestyle. They are socially 'slick' & have an indomitable attitude about life 'well if i lose my job, I'll go get another- no matter.'
There's tonnes of psychological issues with these guys, usually related to being 'used'/using others, disconnected, repeatedly hurt.

The Wicker Park kids are the same age, but are the typical counter-culture: not so materialistic, just as social, but not in the 'slick' way. As well, they're more artsy. It's not so much their struggles that are unique, so much as their solutions to them: happy acceptance("sure I'm a mess-- that's the fun of it") or full rejection ("I'm fine!").

Those are perhaps more quick overviews of social groups more than questions answered, but perhaps it's direction for further research/application?

ckhnat said...

indeed ... that's what i'm looking for

thanks, mark

Catherine said...

Piaget and Erikson are both well-known researchers who covered developmental stage theories (separately), and Kohlberg has some very interesting research on moral/ethical development. There are many more, of course, but those are the ones that most other researchers build upon. I know Southern's library has the PsychInfo database, and that would give you more information than you would probably ever want or need... but it's a bit tricky if you're not familiar with it. Wikipedia has decent information outlining all three of them -- much less labor-intensive.

Carmen said...

Sure, I'll get you the book. It probably will help you a lot.

Donna said...

Catherine representin' the counseling peeps... wOOt wOOt! :)

1) You may want to check out the CCEF for some analysis/critiques of some of the developmental theories, since you are interested in how they can be assessed by a biblical worldview.

2) Dr. Mohler did a few articles, particularly in the area of twenty-somethings who are "refusing to grow up." I found them very interesting - here are two links:

michael jensen said...

Wow, I have been thinking about this recently... I think one problem for the mid-twenties thing (which I definitely went through) is the 'death' of one's gurus. When you are in your youth, you search for models; and finding them you put them up on a pedestal. It can be quite traumatic - but also liberating to discover that they weren't quite what you thought they were... which of course they aren't. It is good if you can work through this to a peer-based friendship with the guru: if not, the pain/shock remains. That make any kinda sense to anyone?