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Emerging Adulthood as a Critical Stage in the Life


The study of adulthood development was a new study that began in 1978 by Levinson since then expands rapidly from year to year. It began as a field of psychology, but more and more disciplines have shown interest in the changes that take place over the adult years, this include sociologist, anthropologists, neuroscientists, epidemiologists, behavior geneticists, cellular biologists, biogerontologists, and many other types of scientists (Bjorklund, 2008). Adult development emphasizes the changes that occur in the biological and psychological aspects of human life, which start from the end of adolescence until the end of one’s life.

These changes may be gradual or rapid and can reflect positive, negative, or no change from previous levels of functioning (Levinson, 1986).

The progress of adulthood life is where the adolescent world is ending and enter to next stage of life or transitions, this includes young, middle and late adulthood; Young adult began by which leaving students roles, or any other roles that consider you as a teenager and began to experience new roles, the role of the worker, or becoming ones independent, or become a spouse or to commit into a relationship.

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At every stage, they had their own roles, and sometimes the transitions from one role into another role just challenging as the roles themselves. Many theories explained life span development where every stage has its own achievement or goals; what supposed to do and somehow become a kind of standard and social expectation. However, How if our behavior, attitudes are out of social rules and expectations, would people confront and admit to every set of social expectation and how it fell if they don’t.

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There’s study conduct on heavy drinking college students (adolescence) and the transitions to young adulthood by Team Center of Alcohol Studies in 2002, the study was concerned with five major points of development, this includes physical and cognitive development, identity, affiliation, and achievement. The finding showed that as people having drinking behavior in adolescence it could either decreasing or increasing in later stage all depend on the context and the individuals themselves, and there’s nothing to do with the social expectations. the transition from college to early adulthood life involves major individual and contextual change in every domain of life; at the same time, heavy drinking and associated problems increase during this transition (Schulenberg, J. E. 2015). Therefore, this paper is aimed to explore more about the young adulthood world, by using my own journey of adulthood as an example for these concepts, this includes what kind of roles and behaviors of my age in society and how I feel about it.

Culture Expectations And Roles

The concept of adulthood has legal and socio-cultural definitions. The legal definition of an adult is a person who has reached the age at which they are considered responsible for their own actions (Mcleod, 2008). And there a term called Social roles and Transitions, social roles refer to society’s expectations of attitude and behaviors that a person suppose to do. Also known as Role Transitions, which means they change as the life circumstances of the individual change, emerging from adolescent to young – middle and too late adulthood, and the older adult may lose some roles as friends and family members die, but the remaining roles increase in richness and the satisfaction they provide.

According to the socio-cultural definitions of adulthood, adulthood life began when a person can take over the responsibility of their own life. These involve, able to make their own decision, career path, spouse, friends with who they want to spend time. My adulthood began when I decide to leave my comfort zone and go out to work to help my family, at that time I was only 16 years old and I am already part of the family financial resources. I was growing up and raised by a traditional family in rural area Indonesia, their perception about the world is just primitive and limited I would say, therefore how they set a standard of life that become the cultural Expectations And Rules is very odd or old style, in my culture early married is one of the traditions that remain active in modern days. When a girl finishes their junior high school, they supposed to get married as early as possible and having a kid as fast as possible and experience new roles, wife, mother, worker, daughter-in-law, group adult members in society. They perceive the purpose of life is to married having family and kids. I’m not the same as other women of my generation, where women supposed to stay home to look after the family and doing chores, I prefer to stay worked and study.

They believe that this stage is a crucial period; is determining our life path, they change some value in order to be accepted by the society, family, and adult group members. they realize that social group beliefs are guided by conventional values in terms of beliefs and behavior. That was the rules and expectations of society for people of my age. In my point of view, the standard of behavior and attitudes in my village is just not really necessary in today world, where I had exposes much cultural diversity background and others value that change my beliefs toward what’s my parents have a program in an earlier age, however, I still respect their value but somehow its had led me to some pressure sometimes, and inferiority, also I felt they trying to make me feel different.


The social expectation of how and what we should do and the roles of what we should become based on our age or gender is just an ideal self and not always become the best self. There’s no such perfection where our life path just goes smooth as a river or theory assumption, instead of life challenges. Just like what the research mentions above of adolescents who had bad attitudes toward life and replaces into drinking behavior, in later years their behavior remains the same or even increasing and that’s nothing to do with the experience of the new role. That proves that social expectation doesn’t always pressure people to fit on those expectations. As people grew up and mature, they had a deal with many experiences in life that might shape them as a strong and tough personality, they become clearer about life and know what exactly what they want, even though sometimes their behavior or attitudes is deviated from what society expects.


Based on the finding above about the roles and transition in the early adulthood, I come up with several conclusion, firstly people journey of life is not always based on what other people tells what we should and suppose to do. Secondly, social expectations are not always come easy to achieve and are ok to not fit into that all the time. Third, social roles as important too because they avoid people behaving randomly but to behave in a certain way in particular situations.

Last but not least the behavior and attitudes that society expects of an adult at a certain age is just an ideal self, where they set that is the best and better way you supposed to become your age.

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Emerging Adulthood as a Critical Stage in the Life. (2020, Oct 31). Retrieved from

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