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Author

Kelsea Starr

Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Karen Kochel

Abstract

Research conducted by Arnett (2000) focuses on the developmental period between adolescence and adulthood, and has come to be known as “emerging adulthood.” This newly discovered developmental period has come into being largely because of the demographic shift that has occurred, as the time at which marriage and parenthood begins has become later and later. This period is particularly interesting because in today’s society, the 18-25 year old age range is the only point in one’s life in which nothing is demographically normative, and therefore, infinite possibilities exist in one’s future, and exploration is at its highest. Within this period of development, individualistic character qualities such as independent decision-making, financial independence, and responsibility have gained importance, while big transitions (such as acquiring a stable career and beginning a family) have been ranked much lower in terms of importance (Arnett, 2000). Due to the strong focus on exploration, and the formation of individualistic character qualities at this time, studying the formation and potential implications of identity development in emerging adulthood is of particular interest. In fact, researchers Seginer and Noyman state that although identity processes are active across one’s lifespan, they are most engaged during adolescence and emerging adulthood (Seginer & Noyman, 2005).

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