Modern Psychological Studies
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
Many historical theories of development have evolved based on the premise that a person's identity is formed during adolescence. Upon reaching the age of 18, that person is identified as an adult and expected to have achieved a healthy identity. More recent studies suggest that a person continues to develop their identity well into their twenties. This age range is characterized by constant change, instability, and exposure to life stress events. Additional data shows that some people in this cohort do not consider themselves to be an adult, a se if-classification that creates stress and decreased mental health. Researchers are now considering this age range to be an extended period of development termed "emerging adulthood." Individuals who perceive themselves to still be developing during this stage (perceived emerging adults) are at higher risk of identity crisis, stress levels, and depression. In order to advance interventions and treatment plans for individuals in this cohort, it is important to understand the impact that this developmental period has on stress and depression. The purpose of this thesis was to investigate the impact that perceived emerging adult status had on mental health. Fifty adults (age 18-25) were surveyed on self-classification as an adult, life stress events, identity status, and depressive symptoms. It was found that there was a significant relationship between perceived adult status and certain life events, such as having children, being married, or living outside the parents ' home. No significant relationship was found between emerging adult status and identity status. Additionally, it was found that age and life stress was negatively correlated for emerging adults but not for perceived adults, indicating that life stress eased with age. Finally, for emerging adults but not perceived adults, stress level was positively correlated with depression.
BF1 .M63 v. 18 no. 2 2013
Cusack, Christine and Merchant, Christopher
"The effects of emerging adulthood on stress and depression,"
Modern Psychological Studies: Vol. 18:
2, Article 6.
Available at: https://scholar.utc.edu/mps/vol18/iss2/6