Introducing a New Life Stage: 'Emerging Adulthood'

What comes after adolescence and before adulthood? This
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2010 11:02 AM CDT
Two emerging adults.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – The cover story in this week's New York Times magazine floats a provocative idea: We should start thinking of the 20s as a distinct life stage called (in the words of the psychology professor leading the charge) "emerging adulthood." The argument is that a slew of socio-economic factors—the need for more education to survive, less urgency to marry and have kids, wider career options for women, etc.—have congealed to create the stage, much as different factors created the concept of adolescence a century ago.

The theory explains all the "failure to launch" kids—those returning home with the master's degrees to live with mom and dad—so prevalent in pop culture. (It's a lengthy piece, so click the magazine link for a full explanation.) The article already has generated much discussion as either a wise insight or just a bunch of hokum that offers a handy excuse for slackers. Click here to see a range of opinions on the matter rounded up by The Week.

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