Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, Ph.D. , Senior Research Scholar, Clark University

Title of presentation:

Emerging Adulthood, Ages 18 to 29: Cultural and International Variations


Emerging adulthood is a cultural theory of development from ages 18 to 29. This means that the theory recognizes that development always takes place in a cultural context and that cultures may vary widely in what they expect and encourage and allow from ages 18 to 29. I will briefly summarize the outlines of EA theory, including my American research, then discuss worldwide variations, focusing on demographic variations such as median ages of entering marriage and parenthood, and variations in values such as independence and interdependence. I will contrast the U.S. and Europe, then contrast patterns in the West with trends in Africa and Asia. I will also discuss the urban versus rural experience of emerging adulthood and the importance of EA as a time of urban to rural migration.