What defines adulthood? For boomers, the markers were education, marriage and starting a family, usually by our early to mid-20s. For our adult children, those markers often come five to 10 years later, as they take their time finishing a degree (or two) and delay starting a career, finding a life partner and having children. Even then, many don’t consider themselves full-fledged adults.
That’s among the findings from a new survey of “established adults, aged 25-39” by Clark University professor Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, who coined the term “emerging adulthood.” Arnett has been studying the phase of life between adolescence and full-fledged adulthood for more than a decade, and a revised and updated edition of his book,Emerging Adulthood, will be published this week.