Unit 2 Developmental Psychology Section 1: Introduction/Major Debates in the Field Developmental Psychology • Developmental psychology is the study of how people grow and change throughout their lives. • The field of developmental psychology examines physical, social, and cognitive development • Developmental psychologists are concerned with many issues. One issue is the extent to which heredity (nature) and environment (nurture) affect development. Another is whether people develop in distinct stages or whether development is more gradual and steady. The Study of Development • Developmental psychology is the field in which psychologists study how people grow and change throughout the life span, from conception until death. • Psychologists use two methods to study people across the life span. – The longitudinal method, in which researchers select a group of participants and then observe the same group for a period of time, often years or decades – The cross-sectional method, in which researchers select a sample that includes people of different ages and then compare the participants in the different age groups Heredity vs Environment • Psychologists have long debated the extent to which human behavior is determined by heredity (nature) or environment (nurture) • Maturation is the automatic and sequential process of development that results from genetic signals. • A critical period is a stage or point in development during which a person is best suited to learn a particular skill or behavior pattern. • Arnold Gesell proposed that maturation played the most important role in development. John Watson’s view, however, favored the tabula rasa view of development. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wd5Y3-F79LY Stages Versus Continuity • Developmental psychologists debate whether human development occurs primarily in stages or as a continuous process. Recall Which mode of development (stages or continuity) is more aligned with heredity, and which is more aligned with environment? Answer: heredity—stages, maturation caused by genetic signals; environment—continuous, each advance is based on observation and experience Section 2: Infancy and Childhood Part 1: Physical Development Physical Growth • Changes in reflexes, gains in height and weight, motor development, and perceptual development are examples of physical development. • The most dramatic gains in height and weight occur before an infant’s birth. • During infancy—the period from birth to the age of two years—dramatic gains continue in height and weight. • During childhood—the period from two years old to adolescence—children gain on average two to three inches and four to six pounds each year until they reach the start of adolescence. Reflexes • • • A reflex is an involuntary reaction or response, such as swallowing. Reflexes are inborn, not learned, and they occur automatically. Reflexes include: – – – – – Grasping Rooting Sucking Swallowing The Moro reflex: normally present in all infants/newborns up to 4 or 5 months of age as a response to a sudden loss of support, when the infant feels as if it is falling. It involves three distinct components: spreading out the arms (abduction) unspreading the arms (adduction) crying (usually) – The Babinski reflex: a reflex action in which the big toe remains extended or extends itself when the sole of the foot is stimulated – As children develop, many reflexes, such as rooting and sucking, disappear. Some reflexes remain and others come under voluntary control. Motor Development • The development of purposeful movement is called motor development. • Gross motor development refers to babies’ progress in coordinating major muscle groups. • Fine motor development refers to coordination of the hands, face, and other small muscles. • The point at which various types of motor development occur is different from infant to infant and even from culture to culture. Identify What are the two types of motor development? Answer: gross motor development and fine motor development Perceptual Development • Infants tend to prefer new and interesting stimuli. • Infants’ perceptual preferences are influenced by their age. • Infants’ depth perception seems to be influenced by experience Psychology in Today’s World Raising a Better Child In the past, ideas about how to raise children generally came from one’s own family, religion, and other institutions within the community. Beginning around the 1900s, however, the theories of psychologists increasingly began to inform American parenting strategies. Why did parents look beyond traditional sources to learn how to raise their children? • Social upheavals of the last hundred years give clues to the answer. • One popular parenting idea is the “Mozart effect,” which says that playing Mozart’s music helps boost children’s intelligence. Results have been shown to be limited, however. • Another idea deals with the importance of play. • Some parenting books and theories have more merit than others. Parents need to do their homework when looking for help with their kids. Section 2 Part 2: Social Development Development of Attachment • Attachment is an important factor affecting social development. It is defined as the emotional ties that form between people. • Up until four months of age, infants prefer being held or even just being with someone. • By about four months, infants develop strong attachments to their main caregivers, usually their mothers. • By about eight months, some infants develop stranger anxiety: distress that children experience when exposed to people unfamiliar to them and separation anxiety: anxiety provoked in a young child by separation or the threat of separation from their mother. Contact Comfort • Based on studies with monkeys, researchers have concluded that attachment grows more from contact comfort than from feeding. • Contact Comfort: refers to the physical and emotional comfort that an infant receives from being in physical contact with its mother • Bonds of attachment between mothers and infants appear to provide a secure base from which infants can explore their environments. Imprinting • For many animals, attachment is an instinct. • In a process called imprinting, some animals become attached to the first moving object they see. • Children do not imprint. It takes several months before children become attached to their main caregivers. Secure Versus Insecure Attachment • When mothers or other primary caregivers are affectionate and reliable, infants usually become securely attached. • When caregivers are unresponsive or unreliable, infants are usually insecurely attached. • Secure infants may mature into secure children. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsA5Sec6dAI Define What is contact comfort and how does it relate to the idea of attachment? Answer: Contact comfort is an instinctual need to touch and be touched by something soft. It was originally thought that infants became attached to those who fed them, but recent findings indicate that attachment grows more from such bodily contact. Styles of Parenting Warm or Cold? Strict or Permissive? • Warm parents show a great deal of affection to their children. • Some parents are strict with their children, imposing many rules and supervising their children closely. • Cold parents may not be as affectionate toward their children or appear to enjoy them as much. • Research suggests that children fare better when their parents are warm to them. • Children of warm parents are more likely to be well adjusted. • Some parents are permissive with their children, imposing fewer rules and watching their children less closely. • Authoritative parents combine warmth with age appropriate rules and responsibilities. • Authoritarian parents believe in obedience for its own sake. Self-Esteem Self-esteem, the value or worth that people attach to themselves, begins to develop in early childhood. Influences on Self-Esteem Gender and Self-Esteem • Secure attachment plays a major role in influencing self-esteem. • Another influence is how parents react to their children. • Children who receive unconditional positive regard usually develop high self-esteem. • Children who receive conditional positive regard may have lower self-esteem. • Girls tend to display greater competence in reading and general academic skills and boys tend to display competence in math and physical skills. • This may be because this is what girls and boys are supposed to be good at. • It is not for a genetic reason. Age and Self-Esteem • Although children gain in competence as they grow older, their selfesteem tends to decline during the elementary school years. • It seems to reach a low point at about age 12 or 13 and increases again during adolescence. The Self-Esteem Trap • By the 1970s, greater self-esteem was thought of by many as a potential cure-all for society’s problems. Showering children with praise regardless of their performance was the common practice. • Findings in 2000 showed that high self-esteem in children did not lead to higher grades and that high self-esteem did not make violent kids any less so or keep kids from becoming bullies. • Focusing on building self-esteem at the expense of other qualities, such as self-control or self-discipline, may be misguided. Recall When and how does a person’s sense of self-esteem develop? Answer: It begins to develop in early childhood. It is influenced by the way parents react to their children and by fostering a sense of competence. Section 2 Part 3: Cognitive Development Cognitive Development • Cognitive development is the development of people’s thought processes. • The psychologist Jean Piaget divided cognitive development into four stages: the sensorimotor stage, the preoperational stage, the concrete-operational stage, and the formal-operational stage. • The psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg’s theory of moral development has three stages: the preconventional level, the conventional level, and the postconventional level. Each of these three levels is further divided into two levels. Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development • Assimilation and Accommodation • Piaget believed that human beings use assimilation and accommodation to organize new information. • Assimilation is the process by which new information is placed into categories that already exist. • Accommodation is change brought about by new information. Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development • The first stage of cognitive development is the sensorimotor stage. • This stage is characterized by learning to coordinate sensation and perception with motor activity. • It is also characterized by object permanence. • object permanence: is the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be observed (seen, heard, touched, smelled or sensed in any way). The Preoperational Stage • The next stage is the preoperational stage. • It is characterized by one-dimensional thinking and egocentrism. The Concrete-Operational Stage • In the concrete-operational stage, children begin to show signs of adult thinking. • They are logical only when they think about specific objects and concrete experiences. • They focus on two dimensions of a problem at the same time. • They are less egocentric than children in earlier stages. The Formal-Operational Stage • • • • The final stage in Piaget’s theory is the formal-operational stage. People in this stage think abstractly. They can deal with hypothetical situations. They can solve problems and use imagination. Criticism of Piaget’s Theories • Some psychologists have questioned the accuracy of Piaget’s views. • Recent research indicates that preschoolers are less egocentric than Piaget’s research suggested. • His theories are still respected, however. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRF27F2bn-A Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development • The Preconventional Level • Children through the age of nine use preconventional moral reasoning to base their judgments of the consequences of behavior. • Avoiding punishment • Satisfying needs Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development • The Conventional Level • People at this level use conventional moral reasoning to make judgments in terms of whether an act conforms to conventional standards of behavior. • Winning approval of others • Law and order Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development • The Postconventional Level • Reasoning based on a person’s own moral standards of goodness is called postconventional moral reasoning • Social Order • Universal ethics Section 3 Adolescence Part 1: Physical Development Physical Development • During the adolescent growth spurt, which lasts two or three years, the average teenager grows 8 to 12 inches in height. • Many physical changes take place during adolescence. • Maturation rates vary among adolescents. From Child to Adult • In Western societies today, the status and duties of adulthood have been delayed. • Today adolescence is subdivided into three age categories. – Early adolescence (11 through 14) – Middle adolescence (15 through 18) – Late adolescence (18 through 21) The Adolescent Growth Spurt The adolescent growth spurt usually lasts two or three years. During this period, most adolescents grow 8 to 12 inches in height. Differences Between Boys and Girls • Girls typically begin the adolescent growth spurt earlier than boys. • During middle adolescence most boys grow taller than their female counterparts. • The exact time when this growth will occur for any adolescent is difficult to predict. The Awkward Age • Some teenagers may feel they look awkward, but they actually tend to be well coordinated during adolescence. • Proper nutrition is important during the adolescent years. Sexual Development Adolescence begins with puberty, which refers to specific developmental changes that lead to the ability to reproduce. During puberty, adolescents develop primary sex characteristics and secondary sex characteristics. Changes in Males Changes in Females • Increased output of testosterone causes boys’ sexual organs to grow, their voices to deepen, and their body hair to grow. • During this period, boys also develop broader shoulders, more muscle tissue, and larger hearts and lungs. • In girls, increased estrogen spurs the growth of breast tissue. The pelvic region also widens. • The cyclical production of estrogen regulates the menstrual cycle. The first cycle is called menarche. Differences in Maturation Rates • Some adolescents reach physical maturity at a relatively early age, while others reach it later. • Early-maturing boys may have advantages over their peers who develop later, but these advantages seem to fade over time. • Girls who mature early may feel awkward. • Once their peers catch up to them, the issue of differences in maturity generally disappears. Section 3 Part 2 Social Development Focus of the Section Social Development Identity Formation • Adolescents typically experience a • One of the main psychological tasks great deal of stress during their teen years, due both to biological and psychological causes. • Relationships with parents change during adolescence. • Adolescents turn increasingly to their peers for support during adolescence. of adolescence is finding an identity— a sense of who one is and what one stands for. • There are four categories of adolescent identity status. • Issues of gender and ethnicity play a major role in the formation of identity. Relationships with Parents The Quest for Independence • The adolescent quest for independence from parents may result in conflicts and less time spent with family, greater emotional attachment to people outside the family, and more activities outside the home. A Lasting Bond • Adolescents who feel close to their parents tend to show greater self-reliance and independence than those who are distant from their parents. • Parents and adolescents usually share similar views. • Adolescents tend to interact with their mothers more than with their fathers. Summarize Why do adolescents often spend less time with their families? Answer: They want to be more independent, they become emotionally attached to people outside their family, and they become involved in more activities outside the home. Relationships with Peers Adolescent Friendships • Friendship is a very important part of adolescence. • Adolescents value loyalty as a key aspect of friendship. • Adolescents usually choose friends who are similar to themselves in age, background, educational goals, and attitudes toward drinking, drug use, and sexual activity. Cliques and Crowds • Cliques are peer groups of 5 to 10 people who spend a great deal of time together. • Larger groups of people who do not spend as much time together but share attitudes and group identity are called crowds. Peer Influences • Parental and peer influences often coincide. • Nevertheless, adolescents are influenced by their parents and peers in different ways. • Peer pressure increases in middle adolescence and then decreases after the age of 17. Dating and Romantic Relationships • In younger adolescents, dating relationships tend to be casual and short-lived. • In later adolescence, relationships tend to be more stable and committed. Identity Development • Psychologist Erik Erikson maintained that the main task of the adolescent stage is the search for identity. • Erikson believed the task is accomplished by choosing and developing a commitment to a particular role or occupation in life. • Adolescents may experiment with different values, beliefs, roles, and relationships. • Adolescent identity is achieved when different “selves” are brought together into a unified sense of self. • An identity crisis is a key aspect of adolescent identity development. • An identity crisis is a turning point in a person’s development when the person examines his or her values and makes or changes decisions about life roles. Recall According to Erikson, what is the main task of the adolescent stage of development? Answer: the search for identity Identity Status Identity Moratorium Identity Foreclosure • Adolescents experiencing the identity status known as identity moratorium delay making commitments about important questions. • To avoid an identity crisis, adolescents in the identity foreclosure category make a commitment that forecloses, or shuts out, other possibilities. Identity Diffusion Identity Achievement • Adolescents in identity diffusion seem to be constantly searching for meaning in life because they have not committed themselves to a set of personal beliefs or an occupational path. • Adolescents in the identity achievement category have coped with crises, explored options, committed themselves to occupational directions, and made decisions about key life questions. Reading Check Summarize What is an identity moratorium? Answer: an identity status category in which adolescents delay making commitments about important questions Gender and Ethnicity in Identity Formation Gender and Identity Formation • Research shows that female adolescents are now more apt to approach identity formation like male adolescents. • Female adolescents do, however, express more concern about the challenge of balancing work life and family life. Ethnicity and Identity Formation • Identity formation is often more complicated for adolescents from ethnic minority groups. • Prejudice and discrimination can be contributing factors. Cultural Diversity and Psychology Rites of Passage A rite of passage marks a person’s entrance into a new stage of life. These ceremonies include baptisms, graduations, and marriages. For many people around the world, various rites such as school graduations and weddings signify the end of one period of life and the beginning of another. • Most rites of passage have three stages: a separation stage, a transitional stage, and a completion stage. • Graduation ceremonies are an example of a rite of passage in which individuals participate as a group. • The quinceañera is an example of a rite of passage for Hispanic girls. • Jewish adolescents enter into the adult religious community with bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs. • Genpuku was an ancient rite of passage in Japan. Poy Sang Long is a rite of passage among the Shan people of Myanmar and Thailand. Section 3 Part 3 Challenges of Adolescence Part 3 at a Glance • Adolescence is a difficult time for most teenagers, with concerns about friendships, jobs, future careers, and body image among their many challenges. • Eating disorders can be one of the big problems of adolescence. • Substance abuse can cause many diseases. A Difficult Time • Adolescence can be a very stressful time for some teens. • Challenges of adolescence can include: – School problems – Family problems – Loneliness – Feelings of low self-esteem – Concerns about the future – Eating disorders – Alcohol abuse – Drug abuse • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nACOo1EtP5Y Eating Disorders Anorexia Nervosa Bulimia Nervosa • Anorexia nervosa: Eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and a distorted body image • Bulimia nervosa: Recurrent cycles of binge eating followed by dramatic measures to eliminate food • In the United States, typically affects young white women of higher socioeconomic status Origins of Anorexia and Bulimia • Influenced by cultural and social aspects, such as the need to conform to a feminine ideal and a family history of eating disorders • Great majority of sufferers are female Treatment • Includes counseling, treatment programs, and monitoring Define What are anorexia and bulimia nervosa? Answer: anorexia—eating disorder characterized by selfstarvation and distorted body image; bulimia nervosa— eating disorder characterized by binge eating followed by measures to eliminate food; fasting, strict dieting, and vigorous exercise Substance Abuse Prevalence of Substance Abuse • Use of drugs and cigarettes among teenagers increased during the 1990s. • Peer recommendation, parental use, and stress are among the reasons adolescents try alcohol and other substances. Treatment • Treatment includes detoxification and counseling therapy. Drug Prevention •Most school drug-prevention programs are aimed at stopping the use of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana. •Research on the effectiveness of prevention programs shows mixed results. Recall What are some of the reasons that adolescents try alcohol? Answer: peer recommendation, parental use, to cope with stress Crime and Avoiding Problems • The term juvenile delinquency refers to many illegal activities committed by children or adolescents. • The most extreme acts include robbery, rape, and homicide. • Less serious offenses are known as status offenses, which are illegal only when committed by minors. • Research shows that low income and mothers working outside the home are not factors that contribute to juvenile delinquency. • Facts that contribute to juvenile delinquency include – Low self-esteem, feelings of alienation and estrangement – Behavior problems that began early – Lack of affection, lax discipline, use of severe physical punishment in the home – Academic issues, peer pressure, family history of criminal behavior Summarize What are some examples of status offenses? Answer: truancy, drinking, smoking, running away from home Section 4 Adulthood Part 1 Young Adulthood Part 1 at a Glance • Young Adulthood • Young adulthood is characterized by becoming independent from parental authority and trying new ways of doing things. • 20-35ish years of age • Many young adults form lasting relationships and marry. • Although most young couples marry because they are in love, many marriages in the United States end in divorce. Characteristics and Goals Young adulthood is characterized by a desire to try new things and by changing relationships with parents. First Reassessment Settling Down • Once young adults reach their 30s, they often reevaluate the decisions they have made about their course in life. • Reassessment may bring major life changes. • The mid- to late-30s are often characterized by settling down or “planting roots.” Analyze Why do many men and women reassess their lives in their 30s? Answer: to determine whether their chosen courses are the best ones for them Marriage and Relationships The development of an identity—who you are and what you stand for—is an important part of adolescence and young adulthood. History of Marriage Choosing Spouses • In most Western societies, patriarchy has dominated marriage, but now spouses are more likely to be viewed as equal partners. • The concept of marrying for love emerged in the 1800s. • Today companionship and intimacy are central to marriage. • Today young Americans typically select their own spouses. • Influences over the choice include ethnicity, level of education, social class, religion, and similarity in age, values, and attitudes. Compare How does marriage today compare with marriage in the past? Answer: Marriage today may be based on equality between spouses, while marriage in the past may have been based on patriarchy. In addition, marriage today may be based on romantic love, while marriage in the past may have been based on the benefits for families. Divorce Reasons for Divorce • One reason divorce is a common occurrence is because obtaining a divorce is easier than it used to be. • People may divorce due to spousal abuse, child abuse, infidelity, stress, or an inability to communicate. The Costs of Divorce • Financial resources are usually divided in a divorce. • Divorced mothers often have primary responsibility for children. • Divorced fathers often have to pay child support and alimony. • Most divorced people recover and the majority remarry. https://ww w.youtube.co m/watch?v= PnSHJmk0 muI Section 4 Part 2 Middle Adulthood Part 2 at a Glance • Middle Adulthood • One of the greatest challenges facing middle-aged adults is retaining the ability to create, originate, and produce. • Middle adulthood spans the years from 40 to 65. • During middle adulthood, many adults go through a period of reassessment and reevaluate what to do with the rest of their lives. • Many middle-aged adults have to adjust to the changing needs of their children and deal with their own physical changes. Generativity • Middle adulthood spans the years from 40 to 65. • Erik Erikson said that the greatest challenge facing middle adults is generativity—the ability to create, originate, and produce. • Generativity adds meaning to the lives of adults and helps them to maintain and enhance their self-esteem. • Erikson believed that adults who are not generative can become stagnant. Identify Supporting Details How can adults maintain generativity? Answer: Adults can maintain generativity by creating, originating, and producing; specific examples might include improving methods and relationships in the workplace, guiding younger people, voting, and community service. Transition The midlife transition is a period of middle adulthood when people’s perspectives change in a major way. Many people experience a midlife transition around the ages of 40 to 45. Midlife Crisis or Age of Mastery? • The midlife transition can trigger a second period of reassessment known as a midlife crisis. • Journalist Gail Sheehy calls the years from 45 to 65 the “age of mastery.” Middlescence • The term middlescence is sometimes used to describe a period of searching that can resemble adolescence. • Middlescence can involve a search for a second adulthood. Summarize How do many adults respond to the midlife transition? Answer: with an acknowledgement of limitations or a sense of urgency; decision about what to do with rest of life Life Changes The Empty-Nest Syndrome • Empty-nest syndrome is the term applied to feelings of emptiness and loss parents sometimes feel after their children have left home to establish their own lives. • Once the nest is “empty,” however, many people report positive changes in their lives. Menopause • Menopause usually occurs in a woman’s late 40s or early 50s and is marked by the end of menstruation. • Menopause is normal and can be a healthy development in women’s lives. Section 3 Part 3 Late Adulthood Part 3 at a Glance • Late Adulthood • Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help older adults reduce the impact of the • • • • physical changes they undergo. People age as their cells age and begin to malfunction. Cognitive changes, including memory decline, occur in late adulthood, but most older adults do quite well intellectually. Aging involves social changes that involve work, family, and living arrangements. Older adults who age successfully continue to believe that life is meaningful and full. Physical Changes • Age 65 marks the beginning of late adulthood. • Many physical changes take place in late adulthood. (eyesight, hearing, arthritis etc.) • Some physical changes cause health problems. • Older adults can do many things to maintain their health, strength, and energy. • Regular exercise and a healthful diet can help older adults feel better and help them fight disease. Identify Supporting Details What can older adults do to help maintain their health and strength? Answer: Older adults can exercise and eat healthy diets to maintain their health and strength. Why People Age Programmed Theories • The developmental theories that maintain that aging is the result of genetics are called programmed theories. • These theories suggest that heredity and genetics play a significant role in the length of one’s life. Cellular Damage Theories • Cellular damage theories suggest that cells malfunction as a result of damage, not heredity. • Some scientists blame free radicals, or unstable molecules in our bodies, for damage. Contrast What is a major difference between programmed theories and cellular damage theories? Answer: programmed theories—people cannot control heredity or genetics; cellular damage theories—people have some degree of control over environmental toxins that may cause cellular damage Cognitive Changes Senile Dementia • Dementia is the serious loss of cognitive functioning. • People with dementia have major losses in memory and may have speech or motor problems. • Dementia that occurs after age 65 is called senile dementia. Most cases occur in people over 80. Alzheimer’s Disease • Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive form of mental deterioration that affects about 10 percent of people over the age of 65 and nearly half of those over the age of 85. • It is a disease and not a normal part of aging. Reading Check Summarize What are the characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease? Answer: gradual deterioration of mental processes, reduced levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and the build up of sticky plaque in the brain Social Changes Retirement • Retirement can be voluntary or compulsory. • People who retire from full-time work sometimes continue working part time, either paid or voluntary. Grandparenthood • Grandparents often have more relaxed relationships with their grandchildren than they had with their children. • Increasing numbers of grandparents, however, take on the major responsibility of raising their grandchildren. Successful Aging Ego Integrity • Erik Erikson believed that one challenge facing people in late adulthood is how they maintain ego integrity—the belief that life is meaningful and worthwhile even when physical abilities are not what they used to be. Aging and Adjustment • Most people in their 70s report satisfaction with their lives. • There is a correlation between socioeconomic status and health. • Older people benefit from social support and feelings of personal well-being. Reshaping One’s Life • Reshaping one’s life to focus on what is important is another component of successful aging. A Positive Outlook • A positive outlook is another component of successful aging. Self-Challenge • Another component of successful aging is challenging oneself. • The formula is simple, can be used by everyone, and includes: – Increasing participation in activities – Making more close friends – Visiting with family – Spending quiet time reading and listening to music Stages of Dying • Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross theorized there are five stages through which many dying people pass. The stages are – Denial – Anger – Bargaining – Depression – Acceptance • Kübler-Ross’s theory has met with considerable criticism. • Psychologist Edwin Shneidman has not found that feelings about dying follow a particular sequence. • Another problem is that the theory may tempt people to ignore the uniqueness of each individual’s experiences at the end of life. Dying with Dignity The Hospice Alternative • Dying people need to feel cared for and supported. They may also need relief from pain. • Dying people need security, selfconfidence, and dignity. • Some dying people enter a hospice, a homelike place where dying people and their families receive physical and emotional support to help them cope with terminal illness. Euthanasia The Living Will • Euthanasia is illegal in most states. • Many people write living wills, which are legal documents in which a person requests to be allowed to die rather than be kept alive by artificial means if disabled beyond a reasonable expectation of recovery. • Many people support making it legal with clear restrictions. Others argue that no one has the right to take a life, even one’s own.