Are college students adults? Their conceptions of the transition to adulthood
College students (N=346) were surveyed on their conceptions of the transition to adulthood and their own status as adults. Only 23% indicated that they considered themselves to have reached adulthood, while nearly two-thirds indicated that they considered themselves to be adults in some respects but not in others. The most important criteria for marking the transition to adulthood were indicated to be individualistic and intangible criteria, particularly "accept responsibility for the consequences of your actions," "decide on beliefs and values independently of parents or other influences," and "establish a relationship with parents as an equal adult," each of which was endorsed by more than 70% of the sample. In contrast, role transitions such as completing education, marriage, and becoming a parent were endorsed by less than 20%. It is suggested that the transition from adolescence to adulthood in Western societies is a process that may last many years, during which individualistic and intangible markers of adulthood (such as those specified here) are gradually and incrementally pursued. © 1994 Plenum Publishing Corporation.
Journal of Adult Development
Arnett, Jeffrey Jensen, "Are college students adults? Their conceptions of the transition to adulthood" (1994). Psychology. 782.