The Dangerous Myth of Emerging Adulthood: An Evidence-Based Critique of a Flawed Developmental Theory

  title={The Dangerous Myth of Emerging Adulthood: An Evidence-Based Critique of a Flawed Developmental Theory},
  author={James E. C{\^o}t{\'e}},
  journal={Applied Developmental Science},
  pages={177 - 188}
  • J. Côté
  • Published 2 October 2014
  • Psychology
  • Applied Developmental Science
This article examines the theory of emerging adulthood, introduced into the literature by Arnett (2000), in terms of its methodological and evidential basis, and finds it to be unsubstantiated on numerous grounds. Other, more convincing, formulations of variations in the transition to adulthood are examined. Most flawed academic theories are simply ignored by scientists. However, Arnett's unsubstantiated formulations have found their way to journalists, who are influencing public opinion, and… 

Power and Agency in Conceptualizing Life Stages as Master Narratives

  • M. Syed
  • Psychology
    Human Development
  • 2016
Psychologists have a long history of engaging in simplistic debates that provide broad contours to the discipline (e.g., nature vs. nurture, universal vs. culture-specific processes). Such a debate

Developmental and Cross-Cultural Considerations in the Study of Well-Being Among Young People

This chapter explores adolescence and emerging adulthood as socially constructed and culturally bound transitional phases between childhood and adulthood. It illustrates how these developmental

Enhancing Theory and Methodology in the International Study of Positive Youth Development: A Commentary

AbstractBackgroundEnacting good science in pursuing the international study of positive youth development (PYD) requires using sound developmental theory to formulate questions that are tested

Transition to adulthood and recession: a qualitative study

ABSTRACT While the transition to adulthood has been broadly examined, less is known about the impact of economic recession on the well-being and psychosocial functioning of young people. The present

Criteria for the Transition to Adulthood, Developmental Features of Emerging Adulthood, and Views of the Future Among Greek Studying Youth

The results support the existence of emerging adulthood as a distinct life period in Greece and developmental features of emerging adults ranked high, especially Identity exploration, Experimentation/possibilities, and Feeling “in-between”.

Dimensions of Emerging Adulthood, Criteria for Adulthood, and Identity Development in Greek Studying Youth: A Person-Centered Approach

Little research has been conducted on emerging adulthood in Greece, although sociodemographic specificities and constraints due to financial crisis are expected to reinforce prolonged transition to

Using the Concept of Generation in Youth Sociology

While youth studies is a diverse area of research, two approaches commonly labelled ‘transitions’ and ‘cultures’ have dominated the field over recent years. The ‘transitions’ perspective focuses on

Stigma and Divorce: A Relevant Lens for Emerging and Young Adult Women?

ABSTRACT Historically, divorced women have been vulnerable to devaluation. This study examined the experiences of divorce-related stigma in emerging and young adult women, who at the time of divorce

Introduction: Identity Development, Mobility and Transition to Adulthood

The opening chapter introduces some of the key concepts used in this book, such as identity, development and transitions, and discusses how these concepts are viewed from the semiotic cultural

“Time to Pretend”: The Emerging Adulthood of Indie Rock

ABSTRACT Indie rock has long presented itself as a nontraditional and unconventional genre, one that has served more as an exploratory pathway than a stable career for its postcollegiate



Rethinking the Youth Phase of the Life-course: The Case for Emerging Adulthood?

A whole flurry of new thinking and research about young people in the USA has been stimulated by Jeffery Arnett's theory of ‘Emerging Adulthood’. This argues for recognition of a new stage of the

Changes in the transition to adulthood in the UK and Canada: the role of structure and agency in emerging adulthood

This paper picks up from Bynner's recent critique of the current formulation of emerging adulthood as presented in his recent exchange with Arnett in the Journal of Youth Studies (2005, volume 8(4)

How universal is emerging adulthood? An empirical example

This paper examined the concept of emerging adulthood as proposed by Arnett, in a purposive sample of Welsh young people (n=38) aged 17–20 years who were working or unemployed (i.e. not in higher

Emerging Adulthood: Theory, Assessment and Application

The later attainment of traditional adult roles by today’s youth compared to their counterparts of earlier decades has garnered considerable scholarly and public attention. This article describes a

Constructing Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty

Past research in both the transitions to adulthood literature and cultural sociology more broadly suggests that the working class relies on traditional cultural models in their construction of

The positivity imperative: a critical look at the ‘new’ youth development movement

The field of youth development, long given over to discussions of youth as a time of storm and stress, raging hormones and problem behavior, has increasingly turned to look at the ‘sunny side’ of

Emerging Adulthood in Europe: A Response to Bynner

It is a great honor to have my theory of emerging adulthood addressed by John Bynner, a scholar whose work 1 have long admired, and an even great honor that he finds merit in my ideas and endorses

Emerging Adulthood—The Journal

It is with great pleasure that I write this editorial for the first issue of Emerging Adulthood. The study of people in their late teens and twenties is not new. For decades, scholars have

Arrested Adulthood: The Changing Nature of Maturity and Identity

Why are today's adults more like adolescents, in their dress and personal tastes, than ever before? Why do so many adults seem to drift and avoid responsibilities such as work and family? As the

Emerging adulthood. A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties.

  • J. Arnett
  • Psychology
    The American psychologist
  • 2000
Evidence is provided to support the idea that emerging adulthood is a distinct period demographically, subjectively, and in terms of identity explorations that exists only in cultures that allow young people a prolonged period of independent role exploration during the late teens and twenties.