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date: 26 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the cultural themes and variations of emerging adulthood worldwide. Similarities and differences among developed countries are described, including the European form of identity development emphasizing freedom and leisure and the Asian form, tempered by values of family obligation. Social class differences and the importance of tertiary education are also considered. It is noted that emerging adulthood does not yet exist in developing countries as a normative life stage, but may expand along with economic development in the 21st century. The chapter also considers cultural beliefs that may underlie emerging adulthood, including the importance of establishing independence and self-sufficiency before entering into adult commitments, that romantic love should be the basis of marriage, that work should be identity-based, and that the emerging adult years should be devoted to self-focused leisure and enjoyment. Whether these cultural beliefs apply broadly to emerging adults worldwide remains to be investigated.

Keywords: emerging adulthood, cultural beliefs, transition to adulthood, cultural psychology, young adults, Europe, Asia

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