The present study examined conceptions of "what makes an adult" within a sample of adolescents (13-19 years) from divorced families. Arnett's (2003) seven criteria-of-adulthood categories (independence, interdependence, role transitions, norm compliance, biological transitions, chronological transitions, and family capacities) were used as an initial framework for grouping open-ended written responses, while inductive content analysis was employed to analyze all other responses. Although the majority of responses (N=568) fit into Arnett's categories, 35.2% of responses were coded into eleven newly created categories (e.g., knowledge/wisdom, role model/leader). The present study confirmed that independence qualities are believed to be most important. However, role transitions (e.g., marriage) were considered more significant than in previous research. The qualitative findings and their specific pattern should inform existing quantitative measures of adulthood criteria.
- Qualitative method
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)