7: Emerging and Early Adulthood

Learning Objectives: Emerging Adulthood

  • Explain emerging adulthood
  • Explain how emerging adulthood differs from adolescence and adulthood
  • Describe cultural variations of emerging adulthood
  • Identify the markers of adulthood
  • Identify where emerging and early adults currently live

Historically, early adulthood spanned from approximately 18 (the end of adolescence) until 40 to 45 (beginning of middle adulthood). More recently, developmentalists have divided this age period into two separate stages: Emerging adulthood followed by early adulthood. Although these age periods differ in their physical, cognitive, and social development, overall the age period from 18 to 45 is a time of peak physical capabilities and the emergence of more mature cognitive development, financial independence, and intimate relationships.


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Lifespan Development - A Psychological Perspective by Martha Lally and Suzanne Valentine-French is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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