Study of Conceptions of the Transition to Adulthood

The participants in the study were 140 persons aged 21-28 (50% were aged 21-24, 50% were aged 25-28), part of the age period scholars now refer to as "emerging adulthood" (Arnett, 2000; 2004). Participants were contacted from mid-Missouri high school enrollment lists from 3-10 years earlier, and 72% agreed to participate in the study. For married persons contacted, spouses were also invited to participate. Participants were predominantly White (94%), and about evenly divided between males and females (47% female, 53% male). Forty percent of the participants were married and 27% had had at least one child. There was a wide range of educational attainment and socio-economic status (SES) background. Level of education varied from high school or less (16%) to some college (52%) to college degree (19%) to some graduate school or graduate school degree (13%). Father's education varied from high school or less (32%) to some college (15%) to college degree (24%) to some graduate school or graduate school degree (30%).

Participants filled out a questionnaire containing 38 possible criteria for adulthood (see Table 19.1). The items were drawn from a wide range of empirical and theoretical perspectives in psychology,

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