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Characteristics of Emerging Adults

Since 1950s, characteristics of emerging adults have defined a collective of individuals primarily because of an extended period of development for youths in industrialized nations. Because the traditional period denoting adolescence to adulthood takes longer, a new phenomenon has emerged. A new paradigm was needed because neither the terms adolescence nor adulthood were a great fit to brand 18-24 year olds. As this age group transitioned into roles associated with adulthood, the term youth was found to be antiquated. Through much discourse, time, and a series of quantitative methods, the concept of emerging adulthood was delineated. Jeffrey Arnett (2000) defined the characteristics of a new social and developmental group that includes late teens through age 20 with a focus of age 18 to 29. Arnett reported that by 2007, the emerging adulthood phase and its characteristics would become pandemic.

The characteristics for the new phase would become more clear, as Arnett explained the "who and when" of the emerging adults, and the data quantified the "why and what". Thus, by December, 2007 the beginning of the recession, various environmental factors shaped by the economic downturn provided knowledge that rapidly added to the definition of this group.

Arnett reported that one of the main characteristics of emerging adulthood is that it is a period marked with lots of transitions and life decisions. While this is a very broad characteristic, dissecting transition and life decisions for emerging adulthood provides insight about the multiplicity of other characteristics defining this phase. To make sense of the many characteristics of emerging adulthood, this paper categorizes them into three groups: roles, responsibilities, and environmental influences as shown in Table 1.

The table summarizes the characteristics or emerging adults and suggests that there is a level of influence among and between each category. For example, environment influences appear to help set the tone for the level of participation among emerging adults' options regarding responsibilities and roles. Further, because emerging adults' overall participation is delayed, as defined in historically defined markers, into adulthood, the question arises whether this affect contributes to their ability and desire to transition out of previous roles?

Although there appears to be an intriguing cause and effect relationship between roles, responsibilities, and environmental influences that have shaped global characteristics of this phase, Arnett (2000) also defined over-arching characteristics, which matter most from emerging adults' points of view. Emerging adults report that accepting responsibility for one's self, making independent decisions, becoming financially independent, and becoming a self-sufficient person are important milestones of their existence (cite).

Early scholars of student development such as Erikson and Chickering (Chickering, 1969) (Erikson, 1985) had already isolated the 18-25 year-old cohort, noting the period when a collective enrolled into institutions of higher learning. The complexities of identity development at that time (1920-1950) were shaped by different environmental factors. Exploration has always been a distinctive feature of different development stages; however the outcomes within a set time frame are what truly determine how emerging adults view themselves. Often, because of what is termed the new normal and acceptance of today's economic climate, emerging adulthood is a period of self-focus, possibilities, feeling in-between, and instability. For the collective of emerging adults enrolled in post-secondary education, the emerging adulthood identity, characteristics, outcomes, and transition into adulthood mandates that the university student services program respond with a newer paradigm for its practice.

Student Development

At one time, the concept of student development was influenced by change in the environment. The changes resulted when new liberal arts disciplines departed from the previous theological lens that shaped earlier campus community practices. In addition to these catalysts, the field of human development expanded to include student development personnel whose role was to provide vocational guidance. Numerous shifts, as shown in Figure 1, would occur before student development practiced today would emerge.

Modern Student Development

Rodgers (1989) defined student development as the ways that a student grows, progresses, or increases his or her developmental capabilities as a result of enrollment in an institution of higher education. By combining this fundamental knowledge with characteristics of emerging adulthood, university administration along with government agencies should be able to update policies and adjustments needed to effectively lead emerging adults.

Modern student development encompasses initial development theories considering development and factors that influence its occurrence (Evans et al., 1998). Developmental theory responds to four questions (Knefelkamp, Parker, & Widick, 1978):

1. What interpersonal and intrapersonal changes occur while the student is in college?

2. What factors lead to this development?

3. What aspects of the college environment encourage or retard growth?

4. What developmental outcomes should we strive to achieve in college?

As each question is asked, this reliable conceptual framework provides the freedom to explore shifts within cohorts, consider the role of the broader environment and its influences on the college environment, and identify which student development theories provide the ability to better understand the depth of changes that intersect with the lives of emerging adults enrolled in today's higher education system. Although the times are changing, the answers to the fundamental questions can inform student affairs professionals and faculty to encourage learning and student growth. Once the link between development theory and student development theory is understood, professionals can identify and address needs, programs, policies, and create healthy college environments that encourage positive growth (Evans et ah, 1998) among emerging adults.

Student Development Theories

Hopefully, the concept of emerging adulthood will remain viable beyond the present age group cohort. (Jeffrey Jensen Amett, 2004) noted that emerging adulthood cannot be considered a universal phase in human development but a stage that exists under certain conditions. Though in the future environmental factors may shift, "age" appears to anchor this group.

Another common denominator, other than age, among youths of yesterday and emerging adults of today is the goal of self-sufficiency. As young people fight to find autonomous paths (Moreno Hernandez & Fierro Arias, 2007), human development theory suggests that the post-secondary level needs to be strategic; that strategy lies within the multiple student development theories meshing with emerging adulthood theory informing practice in the university environment.

Student development theories germane to the transition of emerging adults include development Issues for collegians (Chickering, 1969) identity development (Erikson, 1985), expanded theory of self-authorship (Evans et al., 1998), and transition theory (Goodman, Schlossberg, & Anderson, 2006). Figures 3 and 4 are models of concepts involved in the theories of Chickering and Erikson.

These pertinent theories provide the key to understanding emerging adulthood within a student development framework. Emerging adults face a formidable array of new experiences and tasks requiring the development of new knowledge and skills in order to experience a successful transition in adulthood (Cohen, Blatt, Feldman, Shulman, & Mahler, 2005). However, these skills are not formally taught at the university level. New Student Orientation prepares students for campus life in which pre-requisites are clear for majors, curriculums are standard for knowledge across the disciplines, and developmental trends are observed from first-year through the senior years. Todays' economic conditions introduce a new normal on today's campuses. To maximize development for emerging adults who are not fully aware of shifting tasks, roles, and disconnect between school and work, a top priority for student development practitioners is to determine whether the university environment has done enough to prepare emerging adults for the transition of school to work.

Bridging the Gap between Tasks and Practice

Developmental changes occur through interaction with the environment and cultural expectations (Evans et al., 1998). Historically, this notion helps define Erickson's stage that is related to college students' identity versus role confusion. Consequently, if all roles are influenced by the environment, is identity confusion experienced by all? An unstable economic climate and its effects are experienced across university environments resulting in shifts in fundamental tasks which redefine existing roles. Pairing emerging adulthood theory with student development theory and practice may bridge the gap between tasks and practice for student development practitioners and students transitioning out of university into work environments.

On a day to day basis, college departments operate in silos, today's economic climate mandates comprehensive effective use of resources to minimize the disconnect between roles and tasks. Unexamined, antiquated practices will not help emerging adults to develop effectively or prepare them for the complex tasks required for career socialization and development.

Factors: From the Past to the Present

Many factors have generated a growing population of emerging adults. Since 1950, the supply of skilled labor has outpaced the demand. Consequently, in twenty years, changes in the labor market have made it difficult for young adults to achieve financial independence (Danziger & Ratner, 2010). In approximately two decades, the effects affected the transition ability in adult roles. Time and the economic decline persisted through the 80s, 90, and new millennium. Transition experienced by previous generations resulted in a seamless transition into adult roles which would be contrary for those who are presently attempting to transition into adult roles. Consequently, the inability to participate in markers of adulthood yielded cumulative effects. The delay in marriage means that more young adults are living with parents, roommates, on their own, or with a partner; fewer are living with a spouse (Danziger & Ratner, 2010). Figure 5 shows a list of current factors relevant to transitions of emerging adults.

Perhaps the biggest drawback of a declining economy and a growing gap between various levels of educational attainment is the much needed concept of emerging adulthood. Highly correlated with the need for defining the concept is how the cumulative effects of a declining economy later helps to define part of emerging adult's identity, an identity that tends be explained as exploratory, recreational, and self-focused.

Are emerging adults aimlessly participating in life, or are the realities shaping today's economy affecting their ability to fully participate in a meritocracy. Lifespan theory on motivation assumes that the demands, challenges, and opportunities that people experience at a particular stage of their lives channel the kinds of personal goals they construct (Bynner, 1997). It is important that student development theorists examine the effects of a labor market saturated by decline, instability, seasoned workers, and emerging adults educated at colleges across the country. Through a comprehensive lens of student development, human development, and lifespan theories, university environments can garner how emerging adults transition from post-secondary education. Today, more than ever, this transition should be managed more strategically.
Figure 5. Important markers of transition for emerging adults.
(Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, 2004)


Inability to participate in important markers of the transition to

Career Development-complex set of decisions, schooling, education,
career timing of interpersonal transitions

Proximity to normative deadlines, invest in securing goals

Length of education and settling down to parenthood extended

Economic downturn

Job instability


Social Identities Theories

The university environment is one that specializes in creating a space for emerging adults to explore and make sense of various identities. Identities are organized by race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and career. Although the university community is organized to foster growth and development, it not free from negative influences and students sometimes participate in activities that may harmfully impact identity development. Many student services are available to help navigate identity development. Offices such as Multi-Cultural affairs, LGBT, Greek Life, Career Service, Residence Life, and so on exist to lend support for the development of the diverse student identities. Among these identities, emerging adults have an acquired work identity termed the millennials; however, this is an identity where the verdict is still out to determine how millennials are orientated into career socialization.

Identity development is complex. When the factors which contribute to the growing population of emerging adults, such as self-exploration and a propensity for at-risk behaviors, are combined with a declining economy, is the complexity of identity development augmented? If yes, to what extent do added layers of social identities such as race, class, gender, and sexual orientation affect the process of identity development? The various potential combinations of identities may become a convoluted process. A process that further sustains the exploration of different lifestyles, choices, and consequences, and does not necessarily culminate with allowing the self, allows time for tasks associated with the transition from school to work.

Erickson and Chickering (1950-1969) provide understanding of the various stages of identity development. They argued that it is a process for college students to discover their talents and a meaningful life. Arnett (2000) said that identity exploration and individuality are prominent characteristics of emerging adults, which delay the development of important adulthood identities. Thus, the two schools of thoughts are in opposition. The first alludes that students of the early twentieth century were able to explore but move on to a successful life. However, in Arnett's school of thought, students appear stuck in an era with an extensive opportunity for development. The consequences are that typical normative markers of adulthood are being replaced by personal ones--defining the transition in more individualistic terms (Moreno Hernandez & Fierro Arias, 2007). If transitions are more individualistic, are certain social identities more vulnerable? If certain identities are found to be more vulnerable, how can the university environment foster development that leads to achievement as emerging adults' transition from school to work life during this economic climate? It becomes apparent that the differing schools of thoughts need examination to discover outcomes among the various social identities within the context of social identity theories.

Social identity theories include racial identity, ethnic identity and acculturation, multiracial identity development, sexual identity development, and gender identity development.

Social identity theory provides the framework to make sense of identity development through various populations. Environmental influences on development include challenge and support, involvement, marginality and mattering, and validation (Evans et al., 1998).

Because student development has grown in knowledge, and there are plenty of theories, university faculty and staff have access and opportunity to link theory and practice to make a difference as students juggle tasks and reconcile their identity development. The understanding of the different experiences, which have shaped the lives of each student and the complement of knowledge in the multiplicity of social identity theory, provides students with a working paradigm which may lead to interventions and growth for a student who chooses a particular social identity.

Often, students from certain social identities do not fully participate in the greater university community. For example, in a study examining the experiences of student in college, non-traditional students (those from diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds) often doubted their academic ability. Thus, active interventions in the form of validation were needed to enhance the self-esteem of these students (Danziger & Ratner, 2010). Faculty and staff who understand the various theories under the social identity umbrella can confidently handle the diversity among individual and collective emerging adults across social identities.

Work Identity

Some students hit the ground running while others become depressed as they search for their identity (Murphy, Blustein, Bohlig, & Platt, 2010). As a result, today's emerging adults may not be reconciling their various identities. The extended period of development, delayed roles into adult markers, and the current economic climate posits an urgency from the self or environment to accept new roles and tasks affiliated with the transition into the world of work (Bynner, 1997). Is this combination responsible for the intent behind the millennial work identity? Millennials are described as entitled, lazy, selfish, tech savvy, and incompetent (Greenfield, 2009). Other descriptors include a group closely associated with helicopter parenting, most safeguarded, the Me generation, and the group least accessed with opportunity to stretch and grow. However, are those labels a direct result of the extensive period of self-exploration and the plethora of other emerging adulthood characteristics and factors defining this group? Does delayed adulthood delay emerging adults' urgency to understand the system of career development and socialization? Missing at this time is how emerging adults reconcile these self-imposed or environmental identities, and how they make sense of their experiences.

Millennials work brand maybe a result of the incongruence between behaviors creating the emerging adulthood characteristics and factors actually contributing to how emerging adults are orientated to career development. The cumulative effect of the economic climate has eroded many of the maps to work, marriage, family, and other identities (Robbins & Wilner, 2001). Nevertheless, student affairs professionals appear to be the strongest and most consistent voice in the academy articulating concern for growth and human development of students (Evans et al., 1998). Practitioners who link theory and practice create an opportunity for emerging adults across social identities as individuals with multifarious personas to determine the sense-making process of career development and, most important, to minimize unintended consequences when millennials transition from school to work.

Career Development

Adult Education Theories

A career is selected and maintained based on an individual's value system, knowledge and skills (Sharf, 2010). As such, career development and selection must incorporate identity development. In order for effective career counselors to understand why adolescents choose the careers that they choose they must have a working knowledge of student identity development. Choosing a career is a major milestone in the identity development process for adolescents (Berk, 2006; Erikson, 1959; Josselson, 1994).

Maslow's hierarchy of needs, cognitivism constructivist learning theory, and life-long learning theories are ideologies underpinning adult education. Adult education serves different populations by offering learning options conducive to the adult learner. Historically adult education provided the post-secondary learning. Adult education provides an essential role; however, the shifts in today's society necessitate clarity about naming the different populations. By today's cultural standards, most undergraduates are now called emerging adults. While they participate in adult education, they are traditional age collegians. Thus, Maslow's hierarchy of needs and cognitivist constructivist learning theory are most applicable to explore emerging adults' environmental needs orientation to career development.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a pyramid that proclaims that basic needs must be met in order to have advanced needs to be met. The basic needs of many emerging adults are met. However, attainment of advanced needs may frustrate a collective of emerging adults. The transition from the academic world to the work world creates a set of needs. Other unmet needs may occur as emerging adults relocate after college into a new city, move away from college friends, move back home with parents, or take work that is not glamorous but pays the bills. If individualism is one of the primary characteristics defining emerging adulthood, are emerging adults really able to figure it out on their own?

Because the job market is very different today than in past generations, are today's institutions doing enough to guide emerging adults in the transition from school to work. Arnett (J. J. Arnett, 2000) mentioned that the transition from college to career may likely constitute a risky environment which, according to the literature, can promote both adaptive and maladaptive outcomes (Jeffrey Jensen Arnett & Tanner, 2005).

The changing labor market is a factor changing the transition to adulthood (Danziger & Ratner, 2010). In addition to facing an emaciated job market and life patterns that differ than in previous generations, the needs of emerging adults are challenged by the lack of recognition of the shifts needed within tasks and an awareness of career socialization and development. The transformation of a new identity would require a level of maturity to anticipate roles and tasks leading to transition from school to work. (Bynner, 1997) stated that the changes in young adults' personal goals reflect changing developmental tasks, role transitions, and life situations; they disengage from goals related to education, friends, and traveling and engaged in goals related to work, family, and health.

The factors that define emerging adults such as delayed roles into adulthood and taking longer to settle in occupational tracks make the ability to become financially and/ or self-sufficiently independent tougher. Do these factors affect motivation? Motivation is at the root of Maslow's theory that establishes that once basic needs are met, people are motivated to embrace new challenges. If the need and challenge results in unreasonable amounts of overwhelmed feelings, what impact will this have on emerging adults?

While Arnett (2000) has captured the theme of individualism to define a trend in emerging adulthood, most scholars would argue that meritocracy is a myth. Perhaps, this is where student development theory and institutions of higher learning provide knowledge in their environments to educate emerging adults with the transition to life after college.

Cognitivism Constructivist Learning Theory. Academic environments have clear-cut goals. The ways to achieve them were mapped out from first-year through the senior year and across disciplines. While each individual enrolled must decide the best strategy to complete their education, at least different blue prints exist. Since career socialization is new terrain for most emerging adults to navigate, this is where student and career development can make another contribution in the development and growth of students.

The cognitivism constructivist approach assumes that leaders, stakeholders, and practitioners will assess the past, use prior knowledge to construct new knowledge, and make informed decisions about what is needed to transition emerging adults from school to work. When cognitivism constructivist is applied to historical student development philosophies, theories, and adult education, the examination of the past will require newer philosophies to meet the new challenges emerging adults face today. At the conclusion of this assessment, hopefully the current deliver of services in higher education environments may recognize the need to change rapidly to minimize discrepancies to parallel labor market trends. Further, a model can be generated to help emerging adults understand this shift and anticipate the transition for their impending change into the workplace while they are still enrolled in school. The design of a curriculum or experiences fostering this socialization process should allow emerging adults to construct the possible self by demonstrating the self-directed nature of development while supporting individuals to create their own pathways towards the future (Stubblefield & Keane, 1994).

In order to have more needs satisfied, emerging adults will have to strategically plan their exit from school to work. However, even with strategy, a common assumption of guidance and counseling workers is that vocational choice is the result of a rational decision-making process (Hart, Rayner, & Christensen, 1971). As a precaution, educational environments can make the necessary changes to diminish catastrophic events, but some occupational theorists suggested that individuals move through a series of career development stages, each with characteristic experiences and tasks. During these stages, interests, abilities, personality patterns, and occupational information are carefully explored and evaluated (Hart et al., 1971). The process finally culminates in a systematic career plan leading to occupational entry (Ginzberg, 1951).

Because this information may be new to emerging adults, perhaps before exiting the university, common language can be provided in some organized way as emerging adults are socialized about career development norms. Socializing emerging adults with an orientation to the common three career development theories would help with a transition model. However, this would require practitioners to identify resources and determine ways to deliver this information while emerging adults are still immersed in the present academic tasks, responsibilities, and a graduating senior identity. Table 2 provides a historical look at career development theories in four categories.

Emerging adults' identity development. The university environment is one that specializes in creating a space for emerging adults to explore and make sense of various identities (Rosemond, 2015). Race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and career are dimensions of identity to reference identities. Although participants in this study offered a measure of diversity, the small sample and qualitative nature of the data gathered did not offer a valid opportunity to consider demographic characteristics in the findings. A recommendation for future research is to determine to what degree social identities impact the transition out of college? Given that differences emerge when sorted by education levels, differences may also be observed by various social identities during a difficult economic environment. When the factors, which contribute to the growing population of emerging adults, such as self-exploration and a propensity for at-risk behaviors, combine with a declining economy, the complexity of a career identity development is augmented. To what extent, then, do added layers of diverse social identities such as race, class, gender, and sexual orientation affect the process of career identity development? The various potential combinations of identities may become a convoluted process that further sustains the exploration of different lifestyles, choices, and consequences, and does not necessarily culminate with allowing the self, time for tasks associated with the change from school to work.

Postmodern Career Approaches

We introduce two postmodern career theories that could aid in the career development of college students and in which student identity can directly be tied. These theories were chosen because of the diversification of the United States. Post modernism believes that there is no absolute truth (Sharf, 2012). Career counselors must take into consideration that individuals construct their own reality. Those realities are often shaped by their lived experiences in the larger world. For example, an African American male may have a very different world view than an Asian male. These two approaches allow career counselors to understand how individuals are processing the world and the career exploration and development process.

Chaos Theory of Careers

CTC acknowledges that humans are often complex systems intertwined equally embedded social systems. A number of variables must be examined when exploring career development with college aged students. On both and individual and systemic levels education, family support, political views, religion/spirituality, career beliefs, access to resources, access to the labor market, occupational attainment, microaggressions, parent's education level and geographic location all will be incorporated into students career exploration and choice (Bright & Pryor, 2011). Due to the complexity of human lives it can be difficult to base career development decisions on traditional career development models.

Chaos theory asserts that both the individual and the larger systems can change suddenly and without notice (Bright & Pryor, 2005; Gleick, 1988; Stewart, 1989). Systems have an element of instability and unpredictability that must be acknowledge during the career exploration and development process. An approach such as chaos theory incorporates both multiculturalism and social justice into the career development process.

Nonlinearity is a major concept of the CTC approach (Bright & Pryor, 2005; Pryor; 2010). Nonlinearity addresses the concept that people and circumstances can be unpredictable and both will influence the career development process (Kromboltz & Levin, 2004). Unpredictability involves the unknown. Complexity involves exploring connectedness among systems, emergence (Patton & McMahon, 2006; Prior & Bright, 2004). Career counselors seeking to use to CTC should consider the following interventions; career counselors can examine the importance that students place on their career and explore a broad range of career influences over their lifetime (McKay, Bright, & Pryor, 2005). Counseling outcomes for the CTC include creativity and open mindedness, spiritual development, career pattern identification, luck readiness, meaning making and dealing with uncertainty on unpredictability (Pryor, 2010). These aspects are all tied to an individual's individual and career development. More specifically, meaning making or contribution to the individual's ability to define identity, motivation, thoughts and actions is warranted (Zander & Zander, 2000). CTC approach explores the unpredictability in people and systems. Career counselors can discuss chaotic behavior and order/disorder and how all will affect a student's career exploration and development (Bright & Pryor, 2010).

CTC is dynamic and very complex. The authors present a snap shot of the theory's approaches. However, CTC acknowledges the complexity of human lives coupled with complex systems. Combined, this makes the career development process more circular than linear as much traditional theories assume

Narrative Career Theory

During the narrative counseling process students are able to tell their past and present current narratives. One goal is to help students construct a future narrative. During this process students discuss various aspects of their lives and how they are interwoven with their careers exploration process (Young, Marshall & Valach, 2007). Career counselors are able to witness the interconnection between identity development and career development. Narrative career counseling allows students to interact with their worlds and connect those interactions to the career development process. During this process the student's career is seen as the centerpiece of the story (Brott, 2001; 2005). During the storytelling process students are highlighting important aspect of the story. This allows career counselors to understand both the important and unimportant dimensions of the story. The student acts as the narrator of the story. The setting is the background of the student's story, the action is designed to reach a designated goal. Instruments such as family, friends, and employers are also used to reach a goal.

One major goal of narrative theory is to understand or identify patterns in the student's story. The counselors are also getting a sense of the student's identity by paying attention to both their story and the student. Again, the counselor is attempting to understand the client (or their identity). Career counselors are assisting clients with both identifying and narrowing choices (Sharf, 2012). Additional techniques include explore or writing down success experiences. During this process students list academic accomplishments or times in which they felt successful. Another activity is the life chapter. Students are asked to imagine they were writing a book on the lives. They must come up with the titles for the various chapters. The career counselor then explores each chapter for significant influences and interests.

Implications for Practice

Student identity and career development at the university are related to how students gain knowledge in post-secondary education environments (Collins, Shattell, & Thomas, 2005). Student and career development intersects with the emerging adult's individual career goals and choices made for charting their own path to secure gainful employment (Rosemond, 2015).

The road to adulthood is longer for emerging adults (Arnett, 2000). The intersection of this phenomenon with a depressed labor market was described in the two theoretical frameworks for this study that revealed emerging adult college graduates' encounters on their path to employment. Recent emerging college graduates in the study clarified the mental orientation of a collective of emerging adults who were unemployed or underemployed and their experiences, as explained by Denzin and Lincoln (2008), manifested the reality of the time. The results of this study increased the understanding of the process to facilitate the successful transition of emerging adult college graduates from the university environment into the work place and offered implications for education leaders, emerging adults' support networks, curriculum planners, and student development and career guidance practitioners.

Socializing emerging adults with an orientation to traditional and postmodern career development theories would help to provide a transition model. However, to accomplish this, practitioners would be required to identify resources and determine ways to deliver this information while emerging adults are still immersed in academic tasks, responsibilities, and an evolving identify.

Dr. Marie Michelle Rosemond

Executive Director, Retention and Student Success Indiana University South Bend

Fellow: National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good University of Michigan

Delila Owens

The University of Akron


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Zander, R. S. & Zander, B. (2000). The art of possibility. New York: Penguin.

Caption: Figure 1. Evolution of student development.

Caption: Figure 2. Integrative approaches leading to a comprehensive student development model
Table 1. Characteristics of Emerging Adulthood

Roles                   Responsibilities        Environmental

* Extended period       * Starting a career     * Economic
  of development        * Initiating an           fluctuations
* Social tendency to      intimate              * Transition from
  delay Processes of      relationship            education to work
  individuation and     * Starting a family     * More likely to have
  autonomy              * Much delayed            extended and part-
* Stay home longer        marriages compared      time educational
  or likely to return     with earlier            careers
  temporarily             generations           * Delayed family
* Many remain                                     formation
* Individual
  (by socio economic
  status, race,

(J. J. Arnett, 2000)

Table 2. Four Categories of Career Development
Theories in the past 75 years

Trait Factor: Matching   Super's Self Concept   Bandura Self
Personal Traits to       over Life Span-        Efficacy-1970s
Occupations Frank        1950                   * Decision
Person's (1920)          Developmental          * Situational or

Trait Factor: Matching   Psychological:
Personal Traits to       Personality types
Occupations Frank        matching work
Person's (1920)          environment-
                         Holland (1980

(United, 1986)

Figure 3. Seven vectors of development that affect the
lives students aged 17-25. (Evans et al., 1998)

Arthur Chickering: 7 Vectors of development
that affect student's lives: Ages 17-25

Developing       Managing     Developing      Establishing
Competence:     Emotions:      Autonomy:       Identity:
academic and     flexible     solving own     integrative
social           internal      problems     process of first
competence       control                     three vectors
(i.e. study    (i.e. stress                   (i.e. career
skills,        management)                     planning,
friendships)                                    personal

Developing         Freeing          Developing        Developing
Competence:     Interpersonal    Purpose: initial     Integrity:
academic and   Relationships:       commitment      consistence in
social            depth of          to a life          espoused
competence      understanding       structure         values and
(i.e. study    in friendships                           actual
skills,        (i.e. sex, role                         behavior
friendships)       issues.                          clarification

Figure 4. Erickson's model of students' identity
versus role confusion (Evans et al., 1998)

Erik Erickson

Developmental changes occur through interaction with the
environment and cultural expectations. Erickson's stage
that is related to college students is
"identity versus role confusion."

College              College      Experience
students face     students Make   meaningful
identity issues    choices and    achievement
that cause         experience
them to                the
experiment        consequences
with roles and

College           Identify their    Find meaning
students face        talents       in their lives
identity issues
that cause
them to
with roles and
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Author:Rosemond, Marie Michelle; Owens, Delila
Article Type:Report
Date:Jun 22, 2018

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