The transition to adulthood is a period of development marked by diversity in the paths taken by young people as they gradually become adults. In education and employment, young people face the challenges of an unpredictable job market and increasing demands for postsecondary degrees. In relations with parents, young people face the challenges of moving out of the parental home or continuing to live with parents into their mid-twenties. In romantic relationships, young people face the challenges of developing a capacity for emotional intimacy and choosing to cohabit or marry. Finally, young people must navigate social settings that encourage risky behaviors and cope with mental health difficulties, two challenges that threaten their well-being as they approach adulthood. Young people with access to resources are better able to cope with these challenges and show competence in adulthood. Individual differences and features of the family, peer, community, cultural, and societal contexts in which these challenges are faced will determine the extent to which each person's transition to adulthood is a success.

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Keywords Cohabitation, Education, Emerging adulthood, Employment, Independence, Interdependence, Leaving home, Lifespan development, Marriage, Mental health, Postsecondary education, Risk behavior, Romantic relationships, Transitions, Turning points
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-373951-3.00014-4
Citation
Howard, A, & Galambos, N.L. (N. L.). (2011). Transitions to Adulthood. In Encyclopedia of Adolescence (pp. 376–383). doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-373951-3.00014-4