15 Common Characteristics of Early Adulthood

Early adulthood is a phase of life between adolescence and full adulthood that includes late adolescence and early adulthood, argues Jeffrey Arnet in an article in American Psychologist. It primarily describes people living in developing countries but also experienced by young people in wealthy urban families in the Global South. The term describes young adults who do not have children, do not live in their own homes, or do not have sufficient income to be fully independent.

Arnett suggests early adulthood at the time span between 18 and 25 years when teenagers become more independent and explore various possibilities in life. He argues that this developmental period can be separated from the adolescent and young adult phases. Early adulthood is a new demographic that is constantly changing and some believe that their 20s will always grapple with exploration of identity, instability, self-focus and feelings in between. Arnett calls this period a rule without rules because early adults carry out various activities, but are not limited by any rules.

Early Adult Characteristics

The development that occurs in early adulthood or early adulthood is the culmination of social development in adulthood, where an egocentric view is shifting to a more empathic one. Likewise with physical development that reaches its peak, and after that it will decline gradually as you age. Early adulthood features include:

  1. The Arrangement Period

This phase is the time when a person begins to be able to determine his identity and character regarding responsibility. People who have entered early adulthood are considered to have passed their period of freedom and it is time to take responsibility as adults. Someone in early adulthood must have been able to determine the stability of the choice to decide. That’s why people who are in this phase will continue to try various patterns in life. When he has found these patterns, he will develop patterns of behavior and establish his attitudes and values.

  1. Reproductive Age

Apart from psychological development in early adulthood , the characteristics of early adulthood are also considered as a period of productive age marked by the formation of households, which can be postponed for several reasons. Some adults in this phase do not form families until they can finish and start their own careers in a particular field.

  1. Troubled Period

The early adulthood phase is a stage full of problems so that if someone has difficulty entering this stage, he will have difficulty completing his development stage and it will be difficult to mature his personality and character. Problems faced in the form of problems in work or position, choice of life partners, finances, all require separate adjustments and will be a way to mature in dealing with problems and how to solve problems according to psychology .

  1. Emotional Tension

Many characteristics of early adulthood experience emotional failure in connection with various problems faced such as work, marriage, financial and other problems and affect the emotional development of adulthood . Often this emotional tension appears in fear or worry, which comes from adjusting to the problems faced at a certain time or the extent of success and failure experienced in overcoming various problems that arise. At this time psychological disorders can occur in early adulthood .

  1. Social Alienation

The end of formal education at this time requires a person to enter into adult life. The pattern is career and marriage, which divide the group of peers. During this period one of the characteristics of early adulthood is that the involvement in group activities that take place outside the home continues to decrease. As a result a person may experience social isolation or social isolation.

  1. Commitment Period

Bardwick in Hurlock states that it is impossible for people to be committed forever because the responsibility is too heavy to bear. However, there are still many commitments that are of this nature so that many people help each other to build commitments again. As early adults whose roles change from being a student and dependent to becoming independent adults, they will build new patterns of life, new responsibilities and take on new commitments for themselves and their partners.

  1. Dependency Period

These characteristics of early adulthood are when addiction in adulthood continues. It can be in the form of dependence on parents, certain institutions such as educational institutions, and so on. This dependence will occur if in adolescence they are not trained to participate, be independent and responsible.

  1. Period of Change in Value

The characteristics of early adulthood in the form of a change in value are when there is an adjustment and a change in the values ​​adopted during childhood and the values ​​in adolescence. With this change in values, a person in early adulthood will view these values ​​differently from the views of adults. Changes in views of the values ​​of life occur because of experiences and social relationships that expand with age.

  1. The Adjustment Period

Early adulthood is the stage of adulthood that undergoes the most changes, including lifestyle and cognitive development in early adulthood . Most notable are the roles of parents and marriage, which are entered without prior preparation. It is very rare for people to prepare themselves for a new role and stage in their life, be it from home or preparation in the field of education, so that many have gone through these changes less smoothly.

  1. Creative Period

Creativity will depend on the interests and abilities of each individual who are channeled through hobbies or work. However, not all of them can channel their creativity at this stage, because many are hindered by household chores, daily work, and other activities.

  1. Identity Exploration Period

Exploration of self-identities began even as children trying to make their own decisions, and became clearer during adolescence. However, the brain development that occurs during adolescence allows young adults to explore their lives more deeply than ever before. Early adults must discover who they really are in ideology, work, as well as spiritual and cultural values.

  1. A Period of Instability

The life of an early adult is marked by instability and changes in friendships, relationships, living arrangements, educational goals, as well as work arrangements that make this phase full of transitions that will make it difficult for them to plan or commit. Early adulthood life is characterized by change, requiring tremendous flexibility for those who choose to work with early adults. This instability also often prevents early adults from making long-term commitments to institutions or society. A person at this stage will be able to know how to get rid of unstable nature if he gets through it well.

  1. A period of focus on yourself

Early adulthood traits are also characterized by a strong focus on oneself. It is a time to live with few daily obligations and commitments to others. During high school, most teenagers have responsibilities to their parents and siblings. Maturity usually includes responsibility on spouses or children, but in early adulthood many people are free from this responsibility.

  1. Being Between Two Worlds

Early adults will always question whether they will be treated as adults or as children, for the reason being 17 years old is considered an adult . Usually they are unsure of what is expected of them by the people around them. In a maze filled with contradictory signals, it is very difficult to have a clear sense of what to expect of yourself or others as an adult and still figuring out how to become a mature person .

  1. Unlimited Choice Period

Early adults with a high level of education, good health support and guidance from spouses and family members, have high ambitions and realistic goals, are able to accept success or failure well, are able and willing to communicate with others, respect others and participate active in prestigious communities will easily reach the ladder of economic success and social status. The poor health or physical condition of early adulthood can be dangerous for social and personal adjustment, but these obstacles can be overcome with support from family and friends. Many adjustments must be made by early adults, the most important of which is adjustments to marriage, parenthood and to the wider family circle.


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