How universal is emerging adulthood? An empirical example

Marion Kloep, Leo Hendry

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper examined the concept of emerging adulthood as proposed by Arnett, in a purposive sample of Welsh young people (n=38) aged 17–20 years who were working or unemployed (i.e. not in higher education). In this exploratory study, young people were questioned about their lifestyles and their perceptions of ‘being adult’ in semi-structured interviews lasting about 40 minutes. Results indicated that Arnett's emerging adulthood stage held good for only one subgroup of those interviewed. Other developmental trajectories to adulthood were noted. Further, many claimed to perceive themselves as adult and to be perceived by others as adult. The value of Arnett's stage theory to young people in a European society was discussed in the light of present findings, and an alternative approach was offered.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)169 - 179
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Youth Studies
    Issue number5
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jan 2010


    • emerging adulthood
    • lifestyles
    • young adulthood
    • transitions
    • stage theory


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