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Characteristics of Emerging Adulthood

Emerging adulthood is considered to be a time when individuals try to explore their identity as well as skills and capabilities. Emerging adults decide who they are and what they want to become in their life and have expectations regarding academics, employment along with personal life. emerging adulthood is a term that has been used to describe a period of development that ranges from 18-23 years of age where different life changes are experienced by individuals when they are in their twenties (Wood et al., 2018).

Some of the characteristics that are quite common in emerging adults is that during this time they want to shape their identity, go through a lot of instability and inconsistencies in thoughts and actions, their focus on themselves where they strive to build their identity and get recognized by others and at the same time, they also do not fear to experiment with different ideas as well as challenges (Holloway et al., 2010).

The topic of emerging adulthood has been selected by me as it will help me to identify and relate to the numerous feelings, thoughts, and motivations behind the reactions of emerging adults to specific situations. The topic will help me to explore the changes that an emerging adult goes through in their life and thereby relate and make links to my own transitions that will help in adding value to my personal and professional growth and development (Holloway et al., 2010). Apart from this, the topic of emerging adulthood has been selected by me as this will help me to identify the internal and external social, psychological, political, and other factors that play a role in the decision-making of emerging adults.

Therefore, the research question that will be focused on is

. How do social factors or issues have an influence on the lives and decisions of emerging adults?

The hypothesis that will be explored in the assignment is-

  • “Economic instability plays a significant role behind the motivation to leave home during emerging adulthood”.

Hence, it should be noted that from the research topic and question I intend to explore how social aspects of parenthood, economy, employment, gender, and other aspects play a role in the lives of emerging adults and how the above-mentioned factors help during their decision-making process. By answering the above question, I hope to learn how economic stability and instability have a direct impact on the decisions of emerging adults and why some adults choose to stay at home and pursue their careers, while others prefer to live independently.

Apart from this, from the research, I will also get to know how economic factors play a significant role in shaping the identity and thought processes of an individual which ultimately motivate them to leave their homes and pursue their career independently. In addition to this, I also hope to learn the thoughts and feelings that emerging adults go through while leaving home and what they expect from their independent lives.

  • Do you think that you are economically stable?
  • Would you like to move out from your parents’ home and live independently to make an identity of your own?
  • Why would you like/not like to leave your home, and pursue your career?
  • If you were economically stable or unstable, then what would be your decision when it came to leaving home to pursue a career?
  • How do you think that leaving home and living independently will contribute towards a better identity development?

All these questions will be asked from a classmate through the process of an interview which will be taken during a video call to adhere to Covid19 protocol and ensure the safety of the interviewee and myself. The interview will be conducted so that I can evaluate and identify non-verbal forms of communication and discrepancy between the feelings and words of the interviewee.

Research Question and Hypothesis

The first interview question will help me and the classmate evaluate their extent of economic stability and instability that will help in answering the rest of the questions honestly. The second question is a generalized one that will help in getting the views whether the interviewee would prefer staying with or without his parents to make a career for himself. The third question will help me to understand the reason behind the decision of the interviewee in the second question which will help me to link it with economic stability/instability.

The fourth question is a direct one, which will help me to understand the role of stable income in the lives of emerging adults and how economy shapes their decisions. The last question will help in highlighting how the decision of leaving home will help in building a better identity for themselves which is quite linked with the aspect of economy.

Hence all the questions have a direct and indirect link with the social aspect of income or economic stability or instability and will thereby help in answering the research question and the hypothesis.

The interviewee and my classmate was a 20-year-old male. For the first question, he honestly talked about his middle-class background and how he has seen his parents struggle to offer the best education to him and his brother, by compromising and sacrificing their desires and hobbies. He said that though he is economically stable, he wants a more secure and higher income than his parents.

He readily agreed to the second question because according to him, living independently will make him less dependent on his parents where he can make his own decisions without interference from his parents. He also wants to live independently and pursue his career so that there is less pressure on his parents regarding his expenditure. Apart from this, leaving home will give him greater autonomy to do work according to his choices which will help in making him economically independent as well as stable.

The interviewee said that he would prefer leaving home and pursuing his career because middle-class parents are quite interfering as compared to parents of children who are economically well stable when it comes to making life decisions for their children and are quite involved in their career options which might hinder his growth and might take him longer to build an identity of his own.

For the fourth question, the interviewee stated that had he been economically well-established, then he would never leave his home to pursue a career, since economically well-established parents, often allow their children with greater autonomy in decision-making when it comes to their career and tends to be less interfering regarding other life choices. For instance, they do not mind if their children want to pursue a job or finish their academics, unlike middle-class parents who force their children to get a complete educational degree for themselves to get better job opportunities and do not want them to explore with their career choices. Apart from this, he also said, that being economically well stable, already builds an identity for children, since their parents already have a name in society and social surroundings, which is automatically transferred to their children.

Interviewing a Classmate

The interviewee again agreed that leaving home will contribute towards a better identity development because he will be able to make his own career choices regarding employment and academics and getting an opportunity to earn early in life, will help him to build his identity faster since economic stability is clearly aligned to the identity of a person. Leaving home will make him explore his skills and capabilities that will further make him recognized and identified in the social surrounding and will also make him economically independent, where he will no longer have to depend on his parents to make decisions and choices for him and at the same time, with economic independence, he will also be able to be of some help to his parents.

Thus, from the research and results, it can easily be said that economic instability has a huge role to play behind emerging adults leaving home which also proves my hypothesis to be correct. The results clearly explain how economic independence and stability is desired by emerging adults since they associate economic stability with the development of identity and greater autonomy which can only be possible once their leave their home that also limits the interference of their parents.

Exchange theory will help in understanding how economic instability convinces emerging adults to leave their homes and live independently. For instance, emerging adults weigh the cost and benefits of staying at home with parents during economic stability and instability (Yin, 2018). They weigh the cost of paying rent, transport, and other expenditure while staying at home with the benefit of receiving parental support, a greater academic degree, and financial help (Holloway et al., 2010).

 While on the other hand, emerging adults with less economic stability weigh the cost of similar things with the benefit of living autonomously, taking their own career and life decisions which will lead to the development of their identity quickly. A similar cost and benefit have been weighed by the interviewee where he has honestly listed his reasons for staying at home if he was economically well established and the reasons why he would leave his home and live independently so that he can become economically secure and more stable than his parents with autonomous career choices.

Ecological systems theory is again clearly aligned and will help in supporting the research question. The theory suggests that individuals encounter different experiences and changes throughout their lives that has a direct influence on their behaviour and actions (Van et al., 2019). For instance, globalization has brought a lot of technological advancements and job opportunities for different individuals which gives a chance to individuals to explore their skills, knowledge, and capabilities (Van et al., 2019). Therefore, it can be said that technology and greater job opportunities have had an impact on the thought processes and actions of emerging adults where there are several individuals who prefer leaving homes and exploring their abilities in the wake of technological advancements (Holloway et al., 2010). 

There are many job avenues that have been opened for students of all levels which helps in allowing for economic and life independence and thereby helps in building their identity. Therefore, since, economically unstable emerging adults have several career and job options for them, therefore, they prefer leaving home so that they can get economic independence early in life. Hence the theory can be clearly aligned with the results which show, how social factors and economic instability influences emerging adults to leave their homes.

There are several limitations of my research. The first limitation was time and people constraint where due to lack of time, I could interview only one classmate, where I should have interviewed several, to get a better understanding of the topic. Secondly, the research is biased, since it supports only one side of the argument and results have been reached based on one opinion. Had I interviewed more individuals, I would have received counterarguments of why economically unstable adults would not like to leave their homes.

Apart from this, to balance my research I could also explore the aspect of why economically well-established emerging adults would like to leave or stay at home that would have helped in making my research credible and relevant.

References

Holloway, M., Holloway, G., & Witte, J. (2010). Individuals and families: Diverse perspectives. McGraw-Hill Ryerson.

Van Assche, K., Verschraegen, G., Valentinov, V., & Gruezmacher, M. (2019). The social, the ecological, and the adaptive. Von Bertalanffy's general systems theory and the adaptive governance of social?ecological systems. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 36(3), 308-321. https://doi.org/10.1002/sres.2587

Wood, D., Crapnell, T., Lau, L., Bennett, A., Lotstein, D., Ferris, M., & Kuo, A. (2018). Emerging adulthood as a critical stage in the life course. Handbook of life course health development, 123-143. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47143-3

Yin, N. (2018). The influencing outcomes of job engagement: an interpretation from the social exchange theory. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPPM-03-2017-0054

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