Today, adulthood no longer begins when adolescence ends. In the bridge to adulthood, also referred to as early adulthood, many more young people are caught between the demands of employment (e.g., the need to learn advanced job skills) and economic dependence on their family to support them during this transition.
While most young adults are physically mature and possess the intellectual, social, and physiological skills needed for adulthood, many lack the economic independence to become a self-sufficient adult. For example, many are living in their parents’ home. The new definition of adulthood and the difference between people in their 20s and 30s today compared to those in the 1960s is presented by sociologists in an article in the summer issue of Contexts magazine, published by the American Sociological Association.
Lead sociologist researcher, Frank F. Furstenberg, Jr., University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues on the Network on Adult Transitions funded by the MacArthur Foundation states, “Many [young people] have not become fully adult yet—traditionally defined as finishing school, landing a job with benefits, marrying, and parenting—because they are not ready, or perhaps not permitted, to do so. The life events that make up the transition to adulthood are accompanied by a sense of commitment, purpose and identity.”
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