Emerging Adulthood

They are past adolescents, but not yet fully adults, it is a new stage of development that has been taken by today’s teens and 20-something, a debut from the tradition stages of development. It the orderly progression, kids would finish school, grow up, start careers, make a family and eventually retire to live on pension supported by the next crop of kids who again go through the same stage of development. But this is no longer the case. Instead of the usual early twenties marriages today’s marriage and parenthood is postponed to late 20s and beyond. It is a new stage of life, sandwiched between adolescents and adulthood, or what Arnett referred to as “emerging adulthood”.

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Delayed marriages, prolonged education and unstable jobs are common characteristic in American society and all the industrialized societies extending from teenage to late twenties. It is distinguished from adolescents because of the freedom that this stage enjoys and freedom for exploration. Emerging Adulthood. It is nether a young adulthood because this stage is devoid of the long standing characteristic of adulthood- marriage parenthood. It is a distinctive stage of it own, an emerging adulthood.


Arnett, J. (2004). Emerging adulthood: A longer road to adulthood. Retrieved on Nov. 25, 2011 from http://www.jeffreyarnett.com/EmerAdul_Chap1.pdf

Konstam, V. (2007). Emerging and young adulthood: multiple perspectives, diverse narratives. New York: Springer.