Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 233–250 | Cite as

The Quarter-life Time Period: An Age of Indulgence, Crisis or Both?

  • Joan D. Atwood
  • Corinne Scholtz
Original Paper


A new developmental stage called the quarter-life is proposed, extending from approximately 18–29 years of age and sometimes later. The emergence of this period is believed to be the result of several social, historic and economic factors that occurred post WWII. This article explores these changes in terms of the experiences of affluent young people in today’s Western society. A typology of adaptational responses are presented and explored as the quarter-lifers attempt to navigate their way to adulthood within the context of this ‘new’ affluent society. Implications for family therapists are considered.


Stage of development Late adolescent issues Quarterlife time period Affluent society Typology of quarterlifers Therapy implications 



A special note of thanks to Ian Nichols who assisted in the initial stages of this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marriage and Family Therapists of New YorkRockville CentreUSA
  2. 2.Nova UniversityFort LauderdaleUSA

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