The Concept Of Emerging Adulthood, By Arnett's Theory Of Development

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The concept of “emerging adulthood”, first introduced by psychologist Arnett (2000), is one that has been picked and pulled apart for its lack of consistency particularly when the theory is applied to a population that does not fit the mold designed by the expert himself (p.469). Given that no one is born an identical replica of someone else (even then experience shapes a person’s life) it is nearly impossible for Arnett’s theory to be applied because so many young adults are not accounted for in the research conducted. In order to further apply his concept, many more studies need to be performed in order to explore how culture impacts whether an individual is seen as an emerging adult. Culture plays a major role in the creation of “ethnic …show more content…
Phinney used longitudinal studies of narrative development to measure ethnic identity in 128 first-year college students. Due to their cultural formation “young people from American ethnic minority backgrounds… have additional challenges and strengths that influence the point at which they attain adulthood”. For example, “minority young people… value close and interdependent relationships with their family more strongly than do European American youth” (p.117). Thus, most minorities reach adulthood more quickly as they are expected contribute financially, physically, and emotionally to the family dynamic. Those with a poor economic status are especially burdened. In order to uphold cultural values, they are often forced to not only mature at a rapid pace, but also to disregard higher education as an option. Arnett completely leaves out half of the population by choosing to focus his study solely on a college crowd. Furthermore he stated, “college education leads to exposure to a variety of different world-views…a central part of cognitive development in emerging adulthood”, as if suggesting that those without a college education are incapable of fostering intricate world-views or that …show more content…
In order for the theory to be accepted by more psychologists, it needs adjustments and more research so that it can include individuals who do not have the opportunity to attend college. Besides, simply because half of the population of this age range has been forgotten in the past, does not mean it should continue to happen. Arnett should use his prestige to partner with other psychologists in which they focus on a more universal theory that is not only applicable in college settings, or industrialized countries. Cote and Phinney both introduce concepts that are more universal and that can be justly used across many distinct cultures. Ethnic identity and identity capital are both more concrete models that can be used to determine when persons have reached adulthood; if combined they could potentially become a new life stage that fairly encompasses those with varying resources and diverse

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