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Debating Emerging AdulthoodStage or Process?$
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Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, Marion Kloep, Leo B. Hendry, and Jennifer L. Tanner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199757176

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199757176.001.0001

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A Systemic Approach to the Transitions to Adulthood

A Systemic Approach to the Transitions to Adulthood

(p.53) 4 A Systemic Approach to the Transitions to Adulthood
Debating Emerging Adulthood

Marion Kloep

Leo B. Hendry

Oxford University Press

In this chapter a radically different perspective to “stage theory” is taken. Hence, the difficulties inherent in defining the notions of “adolescence”, “adulthood” and, as a consequence, “transitions” are discussed; and it is argued that trying to describe human development by these vague, ill-defined concepts, or by the simple passing of time through “stages”, does not add to our understanding of what actually causes human change across the lifespan. An alternative theoretical viewpoint that seeks to analyse the processes and mechanisms underlying human transformations is offered. From a systemic perspective human development is seen as the interplay between the individual and micro-and macro-level elements. The underlying mechanisms involved in meeting normative and quasi-normative shifts do not vary between cultures and historic cohorts, though, cultural differences and their associated challenges do vary enormously.

Keywords:   dynamic systems theory, resources-challenge model, processes, mechanisms, transitions, human development, human change

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