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date: 21 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The beginning of adulthood may well be the most nebulous transition of the life course. It is fair to say that no clear-cut universal marker indicates the beginning of adulthood, leading to widespread cultural and individual diversity in the beliefs of young people aged 18–29 regarding what it means to be an adult and how the transition into adulthood should occur. This chapter examines this complexity. The authors review the literature exploring the conceptions of adulthood of young people beginning at age 18 and continuing through the third decade; examine how these conceptions have been linked to beliefs, behaviors, and relationships during the third decade of life; (c) recommend numerous areas of inquiry needed to better understand factors related to young people’s conceptions of adulthood; and (d) provide some thoughts on the implications of the extant research for those who work with young people.

Keywords: emerging adulthood, conceptions of adulthood, adulthood, development, cultural diversity

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