, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 23-29
Date: 16 Dec 2006

Suffering, Selfish, Slackers? Myths and Reality About Emerging Adults

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Many myths about adolescence have been refuted by research, but similar myths have grown up in recent years around emerging adulthood. This essay addresses three of those myths: the claim that they suffer from a normative “crisis”; the accusations that they are “selfish”; and their alleged reluctance to “grow up” and become adults. For each issue, evidence is presented showing that the myths exaggerate or falsify the true experience of emerging adults.

Jeffrey Jensen Arnett is Research Professor in the Department of Psychology at Clark University. He is the editor of Journal of Adolescent Research and author of Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road from the Late Teens through the Twenties (2004, Oxford University Press). He was a postdoctoral fellow under Daniel Offer at Northwestern University Medical School from 1989–1992.