The Connection between Cognitive, Identity, and Spirituality in Young Adults’ Development

The Connection between Cognitive, Identity, and Spirituality in Young Adults’ Development


Development is a lifelong process of behavioral, physical, emotional, and cognitive growth. During the early stages of life from infancy to adolescence to adulthood, several changes take place. Throughout the process, every individual develops values and attitudes that guide relationships, choices, and understanding (Day, 2017). Young adulthood is a development period with frequent exploration and change covering different aspects of life including family, school, work, home, role, and resources. During this stage, individuals’ physical abilities are at their peak. Three aspects including identity, cognition, and spiritual development are influential in shaping the psychological self during young adulthood.


Several important aspects need to be understood concerning the connection between identity and the development of young adults. Identity is a crucial aspect in life since every person has it and it describes who they are as individuals. It is used by individuals to define themselves and is the main aspect that they hold concerning themselves. Identity development has a substantial outcome on young adults’ growth throughout their lifespan. Lack of support causes young adults to have difficulties when they grow older. Gender identity is one of the major aspects of young adults’ development. It shapes who they will be in the future. Nonetheless, gender variant adolescents grow into their young and middle adulthood while hiding their behaviors and feelings for the fear of bullying, intolerance, and harassment (Gyberg & Frisén, 2017). Without a positive consolidation of identity, young adults’ self-esteem is likely to be damaged leading to serious challenges including risk-taking, suicidal, and unsafe behaviors as they grow.

Identity is also significant in shaping the psychological self of young adults. When individuals reach their 20’s, they have to prepare themselves to live on their own. Some people arrive at their 20’s without deciding what they want to do and what they want to be in life. And they might not be clear about what their passion is (Gyberg & Frisén, 2017). All these factors make them confused and cause them to question themselves on who they are and what they can do. This is the identity crisis faced by them. Once people sort out these details in their minds and make a proper plan for the future, this identity crisis will pass.


Cognition also significantly influences development in young adulthood. Cognition refers to the psychological results of perception, learning, and reasoning. The said term is associated with our mental health, development, and ability to reason or analytical ability as well (Kievit, 2017). It is a mental process involving how we assimilate knowledge, comprehension, and process information. Social, behavioral, cultural, and even genetics play a role in cognitive development in young adulthood. Sleep consistency, quality diet, and emotional support in the form of healthy relationships are among the major influences of effective cognitive development during young adulthood. Proper decision-making is something that needs to be considered as well.

Yong adults who can resist peer pressure in certain situations, such as experimenting with certain drugs or drinking too much alcohol, are 9 times out of 10 better off in the future. This is because, acute toxicity or trauma from certain drugs can impact a developing person before they become a full-fledged adult (Kievit, 2017). Even if they turn out to be relatively physically healthy, they might very well have mental health issues. The overuse of technology is also not showing promising results in terms of healthy cognitive development among young adults. The overuse of technology might impact attention span, and rewire the dopaminergic pathways in the brain — the same neural pathways that anticipate, provide motivation, and receive rewards. All of these things and much more can and will have an impact on the developing brain.

Cognition has been a significant influence in shaping the psychological self of young adults. In young adulthood, individuals experience complex thinking. They also begin to construct their code of ethics and understand their own identity. Nonetheless, they start considering possible future goals, thinking long-term possibilities, and begin to influence relationships with others (Kievit, 2017). Young adults tend to focus less on self-centered concepts and personal decision-making, thinking more in global topics, such as justice, history, politics, and patriotism. As a result, young adults have to make sure to have a good moral study and strengthen inner health and learn to be thankful and be appreciative for what they have and be able to do things.


Spirituality is another important factor in the development of young adults. Young adulthood is a significant period when character formation and discipline formation, as well as strong value systems, start to take place. During this period young adults have to understand that spirituality is not running away from responsibilities but striking a balance between the material world which focuses on the outside and spirituality which focuses on the inside (Chenot & Kim, 2017). They should pursue their ambitions but yet stay from lust and addiction. Nonetheless, they should not forget to focus on health, peace, internal harmony, and happiness. Through spiritual development, young adults learn to share and help others grow.

During young adulthood moral values begin to come into consciousness since this period is a growth time of the child into an adult. As far as Spiritual changes, young adult may find their thoughts about spirituality changing. They may become more interested in spiritual matters or they may begin to question the religious values of their parents. They may feel they are rebelling against their parents and seek more independence. In their younger days, they were dependent completely on their parents (Day, 2017). Young adults may also find themselves seeking a closer relationship with religion. They may also find themselves seeking spiritual help for the things they desire.

Nonetheless, young adults may begin to start thinking more deeply about things. Deeper things like right versus wrong and morality as it applies to you on a personal level. Some people dial into what they want in life and make plans heading towards that goal. Others take more time to figure things out due to any number of reasons (Chenot & Kim, 2017). Spiritual growth well, that can take a lifetime to figure out and many young adults never quite get it figured out and a life spent in quiet meditation. This significantly helps in shaping their psychological self.


In conclusion, several changes are that take place during young adulthood. These changes are significantly influenced by three aspects including identity, cognition, and spirituality. Cognitive development helps shape young adults thinking abilities, problem-solving skills, and social behaviors. Identity development helps them understand who they are and spirituality helps them develop better moral decisions concerning life. All these aspects play a significant role in shaping the psychological self of young adults.






Chenot, D., & Kim, H. (2017). Spirituality, religion, social justice orientation, and the career aspirations of young adults. Journal of Social Work Education53(4), 699-713.

Day, J. M. (2017). Religion and human development in adulthood: Well-being, prosocial behavior, and religious and spiritual development. Behavioral Development Bulletin22(2), 298.

Gyberg, F., & Frisén, A. (2017). Identity status, gender, and social comparison among young adults. Identity, 17(4), 239-252.

Kievit, R. A., Lindenberger, U., Goodyer, I. M., Jones, P. B., Fonagy, P., Bullmore, E. T., … & Dolan, R. J. (2017). Mutualistic coupling between vocabulary and reasoning supports cognitive development during late adolescence and early adulthood. Psychological Science28(10), 1419-1431.


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