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Critically exploring transitions towards adulthood through a thematic analysis of the perspectives of individuals aged 18-25

Duggan, Jack (2019) Critically exploring transitions towards adulthood through a thematic analysis of the perspectives of individuals aged 18-25. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This study sought to explore the perspectives of individuals aged 18-25 in how they constructed adulthood and the transition towards it. The ages of adolescence and adulthood are still a point of contention in research, and this study compared the lived experiences and perspectives of those aged 18-25 to some of the predominant models and studies of transitioning from adolescence towards adulthood. A thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with four participants aged 18-25 found that adulthood was frequently constructed as a process of gaining independence and using this newfound independence to drive exploration and self-discovery. Participants’ descriptions of themselves suggest a distinctly transitionary phase towards adulthood, separate from traditional models of adolescence and adulthood and characterised by practising the skills necessary to attain full adulthood. The participants also typically constructed adolescence as a negative domain, and at times resented the notion that people thought of them as adolescents. While this study suggests the presence of distinctly transitional life stage in approaching adulthood, further research should explore how vulnerable populations experience this transition and if social support traditionally reserved for those under 18 should be extended to a later age in vulnerable populations.

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