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Emerging Adulthood MoA/IDEA-8 Scale Characteristics From Multiple Institutions

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We tested psychometric properties of the Markers of Adulthood (MoA) importance scale and a revised Inventory of the Dimensions of Emerging Adulthood (IDEA-8) in a large, diverse multisite and multinational sample the Emerging Adulthood Measured at Multiple Institutions 2 project. We used multilevel confirmatory factor analyses and multilevel alphas to examine external validity and internal consistency of the scales. We also performed correlational and exploratory multilevel analyses to determine the extent to which emerging adulthood dimensions overlap across scales. The IDEA-8 subscales demonstrated acceptable psychometric properties. Our research suggests that recent approaches to combine the MoA markers provide four modestly reliable factors, but perceptions of adulthood varied considerably as a function of sample. We recommend that the structure of these marker items be examined for any given sample, since their relative importance seems to vary, not just across time but also sample location. © 2018 Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood and SAGE Publishing.
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Special Issue: EAMMi2 Registered Report
Emerging Adulthood MoA/IDEA-8 Scale
Characteristics From Multiple Institutions
Caitlin Faas
1
, Joseph McFall
2
, Justin W. Peer
3
, Matthew T. Schmolesky
4
,
Holly M. Chalk
5
, Anthony Hermann
6
, William J. Chopik
7
, Dana C. Leighton
8
,
Julie Lazzara
9
, Andrew Kemp
10
, Vicki DiLillio
11
, and Jon Grahe
12
Abstract
We tested psychometric properties of the Markers of Adulthood (MoA) importance scale and a revised Inventory of the
Dimensions of Emerging Adulthood (IDEA-8) in a large, diverse multisite and multinational sample the Emerging Adulthood
Measured at Multiple Institutions 2 project. We used multilevel confirmatory factor analyses and multilevel alphas to examine
external validity and internal consistency of the scales. We also performed correlational and exploratory multilevel analyses to
determine the extent to which emerging adulthood dimensions overlap across scales. The IDEA-8 subscales demonstrated
acceptable psychometric properties. Our research suggests that recent approaches to combine the MoA markers provide four
modestly reliable factors, but perceptions of adulthood varied considerably as a function of sample. We recommend that the
structure of these marker items be examined for any given sample, since their relative importance seems to vary, not just across
time but also sample location.
Keywords
cross-cultural, identity, measurement, quantitative methods, transitions to adulthood
Historically, developmental periods have been defined by the
achievement of developmental milestones that individuals are
expected to accomplish by certain ages (e.g., Havighurst,
1948). Over time, researchers identified a marked delay in the
achievement of traditional developmental goals in young
adults in Western societies, as young adults are establishing
careers, relationships, and independent housing at later ages
(Arnett, 2000; Demir, 2008; Messersmith, Garret, Davis-Kean,
Malanchuk, & Eccles, 2008; Seiffge-Krenke, 2006). Levinson
(1986) noted that transitional periods, such as that into early
adulthood, can be tumultuous but vary widely by the quality
and importance of one’s life commitments. Relying too heavily
on overt developmental milestones to define adulthood de-
emphasizes the importance of these individual differences.
Subsequently, Arnett (2000, 2004) proposed that the develop-
mental stage of emerging adulthood is marked not merely by
developmental milestones but by psychological experiences
such as experiencing possibilities, instability, exploration,
self-focus, and feeling in-between.
Despite the widespread citation of Arnett’s (2000) seminal
work, some researchers dispute the validity of Arnett’s
construct of emerging adulthood, arguing that it describes
merely a subset of young adults with access to more substantial
economic resources and education than others (Coˆte´, 2014).
Furthermore, Coˆte´ (2014) argues that confirmatory evidence
of Arnett’s dimensions is lacking, particularly with respect to
varied socioeconomic groups. The present study addresses this
call for confirmatory evidence of Arnett’s dimensions of emer-
ging adulthood. We also agree that it is critical to measure core
constructs of emerging adulthood with diverse samples, given
1
Mount St. Mary’s University, Emmitsburg, MD, USA
2
State University of New York at Fredonia, Fredonia, NY, USA
3
University of Michigan-Dearborn, Dearborn, MI, USA
4
Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, GA, USA
5
McDaniel College, Westminster, MD, USA
6
Bradley University, Peoria, IL, USA
7
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
8
Southern Arkansas University, Magnolia, AR, USA
9
Paradise Valley Community College, Phoenix, AZ, USA
10
Swansea University, Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom
11
Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH, USA
12
Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA, USA
Corresponding Author:
Caitlin Faas, PhD, Mount St. Mary’s University, 16300 Old Emmitsburg Rd,
114D Science Building, Emmitsburg, MD 21727, USA.
Email: caitlin.faas@gmail.com
Emerging Adulthood
1-11
ª2018 Society for the
Study of Emerging Adulthood
and SAGE Publishing
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DOI: 10.1177/2167696818811192
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that the experience of emerging adulthood likely varies both
within and between broader cultural groups (Arnett, 2016;
Smith et al., 2015).
Given the theoretical differences between milestone-based
and psychologically based conceptions of adulthood, different
measurement approaches are necessary. Researchers have
attempted to define the markers of adulthood (MoA) and group
them into meaningful components (e.g., Arnett, 1994; Badger,
Nelson, & Barry, 2006; Nelson et al., 2007). However, many of
these instruments have received limited psychometric evalua-
tion since their creation. The purpose of this study was to test
the internal consistency and validity of, and relationships
between, two established and often used measures of emerging
adulthood in a large, geographically diverse sample. We exam-
ined the milestone-based MoA Scale (Arnett, 2001) and a
revised version of the psychologically based Inventory of the
Dimensions of Emerging Adulthood (IDEA-8; Baggio, Igle-
sias, Studer, & Gmel, 2014).
MoA
Behavioral and demographic markers are commonly used in
social science research to investigate the transition to adulthood.
MoAs have been used to assess parental and institutional influ-
ence on transition to adulthood (Park, 2013), adolescent mother-
hood (Oxford, Lee, & Lohr, 2010), the universality of concepts
about adulthood throughout Europe (Speder, Murinko, & Setter-
sten, 2014), and consumer behavior (Weinberger, Zavisca, &
Silva, 2017), among other topics. While most studies include
five conventional markers (leaving home, finishing school,
employment, marriage or partnering, and having children), there
is great variability in which additional markers are employed and
how a given set of markers are combined into scales and factors.
The MoA Scale was developed by Arnett (1994, 2001,
2003) to better understand the importance that is tied to tradi-
tional experiences and transitions associated with adulthood
(i.e., milestone view of adulthood). Studies using variants of
this scale have examined emerging adulthood in many regions
throughout the world including the United States (e.g., Arnett,
2003; Badger et al., 2006), Israel (Mayseless & Scharf, 2003),
Greece (Petrogiannis, 2011), China (Badger et al., 2006; Zhong
& Arnett, 2014), and Ghana (Mahama, Tackie-Ofosu, &
Nyarko, 2018). Variants of the Arnett MoA Scale have also
been used to study how emerging adulthood might be related
to factors such as political ideology (Hall & Walls, 2016) and
subjective well-being (Sharon, 2016).
The MoA Scale initially consisted of 38–40 items, repre-
senting abilities, milestones, and behaviors, where participants
indicated whether they thought the item must be achieved for a
person to be considered an adult. The items were organized into
conceptual themes along seven subscales: individualism, fam-
ily capacities, norm compliance, biological transitions, legal/
chronological transitions, and other. Badger, Nelson, and Barry
(2006) compared these factors among U.S. and Chinese college
students and suggested a five-factor model to include relational
maturity, role transitions, norm compliance, biological/age-
related transitions, and family capacities. These five factors
were then used to compare parents and college students, with
confirmation of internal consistency noted (Nelson et al.,
2007).
Fosse, Grahe, and Reifman (2015) further developed the
MoA subscales by coding 20 items using both deductive (liter-
ature-based) and inductive (sample-based) approaches. In this
20-item version of the MoA, participants were asked to rate
both the importance of each item as a marker of adulthood and
their own personal achievement regarding it. The inductive
approach revealed four primary factors: family/career, drugs
and alcohol, emotional independence, and financial indepen-
dence. Using a theoretical/literature-based deductive approach,
the authors derived four similar scales: role transitions, norm
compliance, relational maturity, and independence (Fosse,
Grahe, & Reifman, 2015; also see Fosse & Toyokawa, 2016).
The authors concluded that the inductive and deductive
approaches measured similar MoA constructs and displayed
high inter-method internal consistency.
The studies described above demonstrate an underlying
structure to how emerging adulthood is perceived and achieved
in relation to MoA. However, it is evident that the inconsis-
tency in item use and format presents a challenge for cross-
study comparisons of factor construction. That is, in some
cases, researchers have elected to add or remove items from the
MoA Scale for pragmatic or conceptual reasons (e.g., the addi-
tion of an item on military service in the Israeli study by May-
seless & Scharf, 2003), while in other cases, investigators have
abandoned the “yes” or “no” response for each MoA item in
favor of a Likert-type scale approach (e.g., Petrogiannis, 2011).
IDEA
In contrast to the milestone-based view of adulthood, Arnett
(2000) also proposed that young adults define adulthood by
internal psychologically based qualities. The IDEA assesses
individual differences in self-identification during emerging
adulthood such as identity exploration, feeling “in-between,”
optimistic views about future possibilities, and self-focused
independence and responsibility (Reifman, Arnett, & Col-
well,2007).TheIDEAhasbeenwidelyusedtoassessdiverse
characteristics of the emerging adulthood population, includ-
ing drug use (Allem, Sussman, & Unger, 2016), psychopathy
(Barlett & Barlett, 2016), self-doubt and mindfulness (Peer &
McAuslan, 2016), gender differences in perceived maturation
(Skulborstad & Hermann, 2016), and political attitudes
(Walker & Iverson, 2016).
The original IDEA consisted of a 31-item inventory with six
subscales: identity exploration, experimentation/possibilities,
negativity/instability, feeling in-between, self-focused, and
other-focused. A revised version (IDEA-R), based on a sample
of alternative high school students, included 21 items and three
themes: identity exploration, experimentation/possibilities, and
independence (Lisha et al., 2014). The IDEA-8 was developed
as a simpler measure than the original IDEA and IDEA-R, so
that it could easily be used in large-scale surveys (Baggio
2Emerging Adulthood
et al., 2014) such as the Emerging Adulthood Measured at Mul-
tiple Institutions 2 (EAMMi2) project. Subscales include 2
items for each of four factors: identity exploration, experimen-
tation/possibilities, negativity/instability, and feeling in-
between. These items were selected due to high factor loadings
(equal or above .70). However, the original validity and inter-
nal consistency of the IDEA-8 was established in samples of
men in Switzerland (Baggio et al., 2014). Recent research by
Lisha et al. (2015) examined the internal consistency and valid-
ity of the IDEA-8 on a primarily Latino ethnicity high school
student sample in Southern California and reduced the measure
to 5 items. To date, these are the only published studies that
have thoroughly examined the IDEA-8. The present study
includes a large sample of men and women in emerging adult-
hood from diverse ethnicities and multiple countries, represent-
ing an ideal opportunity to evaluate the internal consistency
and validity of the IDEA-8 Scale.
In comparison to the MoA, where many items test demo-
graphic and behavioral markers, the IDEA and IDEA-8 primar-
ily assess psychological issues associated with emerging
adulthood (Baggio et al., 2014; Sharon, 2016; Skulborstad &
Hermann, 2016). Thus, while the MoA gauges opinions on
markers, the IDEA-8 provides psychological self-report. It is
logical to expect that the psychological beliefs individuals
share about the transition into, and markers of, emerging adult-
hood would be correlated. However, the precise wording of
individual MoA importance items and individual IDEA-8 items
might suggest positive, negative, or null relationships in spe-
cific subscale to subscale analyses. To our knowledge, the pres-
ent study is the first to examine the IDEA-8 and MoA together.
The Current Study
In the current study, we draw on a large multi-institutional sam-
ple of emerging adults to examine the psychometric properties
of the MoA and IDEA-8 scales. The MoA and IDEA scales are
considered valid ways of assessing constructs related to emer-
ging adulthood. However, refinement and item-reduction
efforts of these measures have created concerns over their
underlying factor structure and predictive utility. Further, few
studies have examined the factorial structure of these mea-
sures specifically and how standing on these factors varies
across different subgroups within the broader population of
emerging adults.
The hypotheses for this study were preregistered through the
Open Science Framework (OSF; https://osf.io/fevja/). First, it
was expected that the MoA importance items would factor into
4–5 subscales with four of those subscales demonstrating inter-
nal consistency (role transitions, norm compliance, relational
maturity, and independence). Second, it was expected that the
IDEA-8 items would factor into four subscales with internal
consistency (experimentation, negativity, identity exploration,
and feeling in-between) with items loading following their
intended scaling. Third, it was expected that some MoA
importance items and IDEA-8 items would be significantly
correlated with each other, either positively or negatively
(depending on precise item wording) albeit not entirely over-
lapping, reflecting discriminant validity. We chose to corre-
late the IDEA with the MoA importance items rather than
the achievement items because the IDEA and the importance
items reflect the participant’s beliefs or psychological experi-
ence rather than achievement items which rely on external and
situational factors.
After addressing these hypotheses, the planned exploratory
analyses were focused on demographic differences within the
sample for the MoA and IDEA-8 scales because the importance
of these factors may differ across varied groups. The outcomes
from our investigation, regardless of the direction of findings,
will help direct future researchers to more effectively use the
MoA and IDEA-8 scales.
Method
The present study originated with the EAMMi2 project (Grahe
et al., 2017). Full descriptions of the sample, measures, original
data gathering procedures, and cleaning procedures are included
in the EAMMi2 OSF project page (https://osf.io/te54b/).
Participants
Initial EAMMi2 respondents included 4,220 participants. Fol-
lowing the EAMMi2 overall project preregistration (see
https://osf.io/yd4jx/), the EAMMi2 data cleaning team
removed participants who spent less than 10 min of time for
completing the survey (N¼610), participants who missed an
attention test (N¼195), participants who failed to complete
at least 80%of the survey (N¼258), and participants with high
response bias that failed more than eight checks for repetitive
responding (N¼4). The total sample available for the present
study was then 3,153 participants.
Due to an error in early data collection, age data were miss-
ing for 1,044 participants. Of the 2,109 participants for whom
age data were requested, 93 participants reported age of 30 or
higher (4.4%). We deleted these 93 participants because they
were outside of the recruitment target of 18–29 years old (Mde
¼30 years), resulting in a sample of 3,060 individuals. Based
on the small percentage of nonemerging adults in the known
age data, we estimated that no more than 46 individuals of the
1,044 with unknown age would exceed an age of 29. We chose
to keep the 1,044 participants, understanding that approxi-
mately 46 of the 3,060 participants (1.5%) may fall outside the
target recruitment age by a year or two. One participant did not
have answers to the MoA nor IDEA-8 items for this study;
therefore, our final data set consisted of 3,059 responses. The
analysis team was separate from the data cleaning team so that
cleaning decisions were not dependent on the particular analy-
tic outcomes in this study.
Measures
The EAMMi2 project included 20 items from the MoA Scale
(Arnett, 2001), used to assess participants’ beliefs about what
achievements are necessary to attain adulthood. Participants
Faas et al. 3
responded on a 4-point Likert-type scale to rate the importance
of each marker from 1 (not important)to4(very important).
The short form of the IDEA (IDEA-8; Baggio et al., 2014)
was used in EAMMi2 to assess dimensions of emerging
adulthood. IDEA subscales include identity exploration,
experimentation/possibilities, negativity/instability, and feel-
ing in-between. Participants used a 4-point Likert-type scale
from 1 (strongly disagree)to4(strongly agree) to indicate their
level of agreement with a variety of statements about the pres-
ent 5-year period of their life. Participants also completed a
series of demographic questions including gender (male,
female, other), educational attainment, racial/ethnic group,
serviceinthearmedforcesstatus, household income, and
country of residence.
Analysis Plan
Due to the multi-institution sampling procedure of EAMMi2
(i.e., survey respondents were recruited through 32 different
institutions of higher education), we used multilevel analyses
to control for nonindependence of the data. When data have
a hierarchical structure (e.g., individuals nested within institu-
tions), residuals within statistical analyses may be dependent
due to institution-level variability (Geldhof, Preacher, &
Zyphur, 2014). This issue arises because participants within a
particular institution may have similarities to one another lead-
ing to confounding by institution (a question addressed from a
theoretical perspective by Grahe et al. (2018).
For a detailed analysis plan for the present study, please see
the Analysis Plan document on the paper’s OSF page (https://o
sf.io/5s4cm/). In that document, we describe our plan for deter-
mining the degree of nonindependence in our sample (i.e.,
Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (1) and design effect), relia-
bility (i.e., internal consistency and within-group agreement),
and details regarding our factor analyses. Due to large multile-
vel design effects, we determined that multilevel analyses
would be most appropriate throughout our study. To verify the
emerging adulthood scales’ factor structures and test alterna-
tive structures, we utilized confirmatory factor analysis (com-
plex analysis to control for clustering at the institution level)
for each scale and multilevel exploratory factor analysis
(MEFA), when needed to understand low confirmatory factor
analysis (CFA) fit. Further, due to the Likert-type data, we used
ordered categorical analyses to properly model the noncontin-
uous data. To assess model fit, we examined w
2
Root Mean
Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA) values, Confirma-
tory Fit Index (CFI), Tucker Lewis Index (TLI), and Weighted
Root Mean Square Residual (WRMR).
After establishing the most reliable and valid emerging adult-
hood subscales, subscale scores for both the MoA importance
items and the IDEA-8 were correlated using Pearson rcorrela-
tions to test the hypothesis that associations should emerge
between the factors within and between the MoA and IDEA-8
scales. Differences in emerging adulthood factors by demo-
graphic variables were examined by comparing 95%confidence
intervals and inferring differences where there was no overlap.
Results
As described in the introduction, three hypotheses were prere-
gistered: MoA importance items factoring into 4–5 subscales,
IDEA-8 items factoring into four subscales, and significant cor-
relations between the MoA importance and IDEA-8 items, still
demonstrating discriminant validity between the two scales.
Other analyses are specified as additional steps conducted after
data were examined.
Descriptive Statistics
The MoA importance items are reported in Table 1. At least
50%of respondents reported that 15 of the 20 items were very
important to achieving adulthood. This suggests that for many
items, there is a ceiling effect in the data. The highest average
item was avoid drunk driving, and the lowest average item was
have at least one child. Some extreme responses (highest and
lowest) include items that are intended to be part of the same
subscales. One set includes avoid drunk driving (high) and
avoid becoming drunk (low) where both are in Normative
Compliance. Then, capable of supporting parents financially
is part of Independence (low), as are financially independent
(high), make independent decisions (high), and accept respon-
sibility for your actions (high).
The IDEA-8 items are reported in Table 2. All eight IDEA-8
items had Mdn ¼4, which again suggests potential ceiling
effects in the data. Further, the highest (many possibilities) and
lowest (feeling adult in some ways) scored items showed a
restricted range. Correlations were examined for all 28 items,
and the full grid is available on OSF (https://osf.io/7p24q/).
Confirmatory Factor Analyses
The standardized factor loadings from the CFA four-factor
model for MoA when clustered by school are displayed in
Table 3. The model fit information was w
2
(164) ¼1915.82,
p< .00001, RMSEA ¼.059, 90%CI [.057, .062], CFI ¼
.913, TLI ¼.899, and WRMR ¼3.51. The standardized factor
loadings from the CFA four-factor model for IDEA-8 when
clustered by school are displayed in Table 4. The model fit
information was w
2
(14) ¼96.77, p< .00001, RMSEA ¼
.044, 90%CI [.036, .053], CFI ¼.987, TLI ¼.974, WRMR
¼1.11.
Exploratory Factor Analyses (EFAs)
The following EFAs were conducted after examining the data
relevant to the preregistered hypotheses. For the MoA items,
multiple models were tested using MEFA in MPlus with school
used as the cluster variable (table available on OSF—https://o
sf.io/b8gqt/). Five factors indicated the best overall model fit,
w
2
(100) ¼432.66, p< .00001, RMSEA ¼.03, CFI ¼.99, TLI
¼.95 (see Table 5 for geomin-rotated factor loadings); though
the four-factor model still had reasonable model fit, w
2
(116) ¼
646.52, p< .00001, RMSEA ¼.04, CFI ¼.98, TLI ¼.93 (see
Table 6). Unlike the confirmatory tests, exploratory tests offer
an opportunity for speculation when considering differences
4Emerging Adulthood
among models, which can lead to important suggestions about
using the MoA items in research.
When considering the four-factor structure, the variables
load in understandable ways. The variables revealing the high-
est loads (i.e., .70 or higher) on Factor 1, Family Capacity,
included married, have a child, capable of caring for children,
and committed to long-term relationship but also included vari-
ables with loadings above .35 related to employment, educa-
tion, and care for family. Factor 2, Career, had no really high
item loadings, but the items that loaded above .35 were all
related to some role transition (moving out,finishing education,
career,orfinancially independent). Factor 3, Normative Com-
pliance, included 3 of the 4 items related to risky behaviors
(avoid getting drunk,avoid illicit drugs, and avoid drunk driv-
ing). The missing item, use a condom when avoiding preg-
nancy (.28), was not above the arbitrary .35 cutoff, but it
actually had a higher loading (.33) on the Role Transition fac-
tor. Factor 4, Relational Maturity, included the other items
related to financial capacity, controlling emotions, and treating
parents as equals, though none of the items had high loadings.
Overall, it is notable that only 1 item failed to load on any fac-
tor, but there are 4 items loading above .35 on both Factor 1 and
another factor.
When expanding the analysis to a fifth factor, there is
increased discrimination between the factor structures requir-
ing slightly different factor names. For instance, the four-
factor structure had considerable overlap with items regarding
family, education, and career all loading on one factor. How-
ever, in the five-factor structure, Factor 1, Finances and
Employment, the only family related items are regarding
capacity to care for family rather than the presence of family.
Instead, these items load strongly onto Factor 2, Family
Table 2. Descriptive Statistics of IDEA-8 Items.
Item Code and Name Mean SD Median % of 1s % of 2s % of 3s % of 4s
Think of this time in your life. By “time in your life” we refer to the present time, plus the last few years that have gone by, and the next few years
to come, as you see them. In short, think of a roughly 5-year period, with the present in the middle
Is this period of your life a time of ...?(1¼strongly disagree to 4 ¼strongly agree)
Many possibilities 3.68 0.55 4 0.5 2.7 24.2 72.6
Exploration 3.57 0.64 4 1.0 4.2 29.9 64.9
Feeling stressed out 3.54 0.66 4 1.2 5.6 30.8 62.4
High pressure 3.57 0.64 4 0.9 5.0 29.9 64.1
Defining yourself 3.57 0.62 4 0.8 4.0 32.3 63.0
Deciding your own beliefs and values 3.59 0.63 4 0.8 4.2 28.8 66.1
Feeling adult in some ways but not others 3.51 0.70 4 1.4 4.7 32.1 61.9
Gradually becoming an adult 3.57 0.67 4 1.0 3.9 28.7 66.4
Note. N ¼3,059. IDEA ¼Inventory of the Dimensions of Emerging Adulthood.
Table 1. Descriptive Statistics of Markers of Adulthood (MoA) Importance Items.
Item Code and Name Mean SD Median % of 1s % of 2s % of 3s % of 4s
Degree this is an important milestone in achieving adulthood (1 ¼not,2¼slightly,3¼quite,4¼very)
Financially independent 3.71 0.59 4 1.1 3.7 18.1 77.1
No longer living in parents’ household 3.43 0.79 4 3.5 8.9 29.5 58.1
Finished with education 3.46 0.88 4 5.8 9.2 18.5 66.5
Married 2.47 1.12 3 26.2 23.6 26.7 23.6
Have at least one child 2.29 1.18 2 36.5 21.2 19.7 22.5
Settled into a long-term career 3.28 0.91 4 6.6 12.0 28.2 53.2
Avoid becoming drunk 2.48 1.13 2 25.0 29.1 20.1 25.8
Avoid illegal drugs 3.10 1.09 4 13.3 16.1 19.8 50.8
Use contraception if sexually active and not trying to conceive a child 3.41 0.91 4 7.1 8.4 21.8 62.7
Committed to long-term love relationship 2.96 1.08 3 14.4 17.6 26.0 42.0
Make independent decisions 3.82 0.42 4 0.1 1.1 15.3 83.5
Become capable of supporting a family financially 3.47 0.85 4 4.8 9.6 20.8 64.8
Become capable of caring for children 3.22 0.97 4 7.8 15.1 25.2 51.9
Accept responsibility for your actions 3.86 0.39 4 0.2 0.9 11.8 87.1
Be employed full time 3.49 0.77 4 3.1 8.1 26.1 62.7
Avoid drunk driving 3.83 0.52 4 1.3 3.0 7.00 88.7
Establish a relationship with parents as an equal adult 3.38 0.78 4 2.5 11.2 33.1 53.3
Learn always to have good control of your emotions 3.45 0.68 4 1.2 6.9 37.6 54.2
Become less self-oriented, develop greater consideration for others 3.47 0.71 4 1.5 8.3 32.9 57.3
Capable of supporting parents financially 2.88 0.97 3 9.4 24.6 34.5 31.5
Note. N ¼3,059.
Faas et al. 5
Present, including married,have a child, and committed to
long-term relationship. Factor 3, Normative Compliance, loads
the same 3 items as in the four-factor structure. However, in
this iteration, avoiding drunk driving (along with using contra-
ception to avoid pregnancy) both load with the items identified
as Relational Maturity previously. Finally, Factor 5, Family
Capacity, includes items that signal ability to have a family,
in the future distinguishing it from Factor 2, Family Present,
which included items reflecting current presence of a spouse or
children. Because these exploratory factors do not provide a con-
vincing alternative to the factor structure tested with the CFA, we
present further findings focused on the four MoA subscales.
Internal Consistency of MoA and IDEA Subscales
The internal consistency of the four MoA subscales and four
IDEA-8 subscales are reported in Table 7. The MoA was a reli-
able scale when considering all 20 items (a¼.86), but the inter-
nal consistency varied between the four hypothesized subscales
between .56 and .80. The IDEA-8 was a reliable scale when con-
sidering all 8 items (a¼.72). However, again, the internal con-
sistency varied for the four subscales between .32 and .56. As a
reminder, each IDEA-8 subscale only consisted of two variables,
so it was not reasonable to expect to reach conventional bench-
marks for internal consistency in those subscales.
Correlation Among Emerging Adulthood Factors
See Table 8 for estimates of associations among the various
subscales. The highest correlation was between MoA Role
Transition and MoA Independence (r¼.66). The lowest
Table 3. Standardized Factor Loadings for CFA Four-Factor MoA
Model.
Item Name
Factor
Loading SE
Relational maturity
Committed to long-term love relationship .80 .01
Establish a relationship with parents as equal adult .47 .02
Learn always to have good control of your emotions .55 .02
Become less self-oriented, develop greater
consideration for others
.46 .02
Role transitions
No longer living in parent’s house .39 .02
Finished with education .68 .02
Married .88 .01
Have at least one child .89 .01
Settled into a long-term career .75 .01
Be employed full time .68 .01
Norm compliance
Avoid becoming drunk .72 .02
Avoid illegal drugs .84 .02
Use contraception if sexually active and not trying to
conceive
.48 .03
Avoid drunk driving .73 .04
Independence
Financially independent .47 .02
Make independent decisions .43 .03
Become capable of supporting a family financially .85 .01
Become capable of caring for children .81 .01
Accept responsibility for your actions .42 .03
Capable of supporting parents financially .62 .01
Note. N ¼3,022. MoA ¼Markers of Adulthood.
Table 4. Standardized Factor Loadings for CFA Four-Factor IDEA-8
Model.
Item Name Factor Loading SE
Experimentation
Many possibilities .71 .02
Exploration .81 .02
Negativity/Instability
Feeling stressed out .82 .03
High pressure .88 .03
Identity exploration
Defining yourself .78 .02
Deciding your own beliefs and values .71 .02
Feeling in-between
Feeling adult in some ways but not others .63 .02
Gradually becoming an adult .70 .02
Note. N ¼3,024. IDEA ¼Inventory of the Dimensions of Emerging Adulthood.
Table 5. Standardized Factor Loadings for Four Factors in EFA MoA
Items Clustered by School.
Item Name 1234
1. Financially independent .16 .56 .18 .12
2. No longer living in parent’s house .23 .38 .20 .08
3. Finished with education .43 .56 .03 .04
4. Married .90 .09 .04 .12
5. Have at least one child .94 .05 .00 .01
6. Settled into a long-term career .50 .48 .03 .01
7. Avoid becoming drunk .06 .07 .77 .07
8. Avoid illegal drugs .09 .03 .88 .01
9. Use contraception if sexually active and
not trying to conceive
.07 .33 .28 .14
10. Committed to long-term love
relationship
.71 .08 .15 .01
11. Make independent decisions .03 .23 .10 .55
12. Become capable of supporting a family
financially
.68 .01 .06 .34
13. Become capable of caring for children .76 .28 .02 .44
14. Accept responsibility for your actions .13 .07 .05 .71
15. Be employed full time .42 .33 .01 .21
16. Avoid drunk driving .06 .29 .38 .33
17. Establish a relationship with parents as
an equal adult
.18 .01 .06 .50
18. Learn always to have good control of
your emotions
.16 .05 .11 .51
19. Become less self-oriented, develop
greater consideration for others
.10 .01 .13 .49
20. Capable of supporting parents
financially
.39 .01 .04 .35
Note.N¼3,057. MoA ¼Markers of Adulthood.
The bold value significant is p< .01.
6Emerging Adulthood
correlations were between IDEA Negativity/Instability and
MoA subscales and between IDEA Feeling In-Between and
MoA subscales. While almost all eight factors were positively
related to each other, the MoA subscales correlated with one
another (þ.31 < r<þ.66, Mr ¼þ.49) and the IDEA subscales
correlated with one another (þ.13 to þ.47, Mr ¼þ.31), more
than the MoA subscales did with the IDEA subscales (.04 < r
< .16, Mr ¼þ.06).
Demographic Comparisons
The following analyses did not have preregistered hypotheses
before data were examined. Demographic information for the
four MoA subscales and four IDEA-8 subscales were compared
(see table on OSF https://osf.io/ujqbh/ to review MoA and
IDEA-8 demographic scale comparisons. Full data output can
viewed at https://osf.io/pzxfm/). First, women were found to
have higher MoA scores than men (Hedges’ g¼.20). Addition-
ally, those who did not self-identify as male nor female
responded with lower MoA important scores than those who
did state a specific gender (Hedges’ gwith females ¼.84;
with males ¼.60). This difference was not present in the
IDEA-8 responses. No known evidence comparing those who
self-identify as male or female to those who select “other” as
a classification for gender is thought to exist. Those in lower
income brackets scored lower on both the MoA and IDEA-8
(see table on OSF). Individuals who served in the military
scored higher on the MoA (g¼.20), but lower on IDEA-8 (g
¼.70). Finally, U.S. residents achieved higher MoA (g¼
.26) and IDEA-8 (g¼.32) scores.
Table 6. Standardized Factor Loadings for Five Factors in EFA MoA
Items Clustered by School.
Item Name 12345
1. Financially independent .38 .04 .18 .44 .11
2. No longer living in parent’s
house
.15 .25 .23 .38 .10
3. Finished with education .74 .00 .05 .09 .02
4. Married .04 .91 .04 .00 .06
5. Have at least one child .06 .87 .01 .11 .10
6. Settled into a long-term career .78 .03 .05 .00 .05
7. Avoid becoming drunk .02 .01 .78 .01 .05
8. Avoid illegal drugs .06 .05 .88 .02 .04
9. Use contraception if sexually
active and not trying to conceive
.15 .09 .27 .37 .05
10. Committed to long-term love
relationship
.02 .74 .15 .10 .00
11. Make independent decisions .05 .04 .13 .61 .23
12. Become capable of supporting
a family financially
.44 .28 .06 .02 .45
13. Become capable of caring for
children
.03 .64 .02 .03 .45
14. Accept responsibility for your
actions
.11 .08 .02 .68 .33
15. Be employed full time .53 .06 .02 .17 .17
16. Avoid drunk driving .02 .03 .35 .57 .03
17. Establish a relationship with
parents as an equal adult
.08 .05 .04 .31 .36
18. Learn always to have good
control of your emotions
.08 .05 .09 .38 .34
19. Become less self-oriented,
develop greater consideration
for others
.03 .07 .11 .39 .30
20. Capable of supporting parents
financially
.46 .04 .05 .03 .45
Note.N¼3,057. MoA ¼Markers of Adulthood.
The bold value significant is p< .01.
Table 7. Internal Consistency and Validity of MoA and IDEA-8
Subscales.
Name of Scale
Internal
Consistency
a
rWG
b
MSEM
Alpha
Within
c
MSEM
Alpha
Between
MoA importance 20 items .86 .97 .86 .94
Relational maturity .56 .93 .55 .82
Role transitions .80 .92 .79 .93
Norm compliance .62 .90 .60 .75
Independence .65 .96 .65 .86
IDEA-8 .72 .97 .72 .90
Experimentation/
Possibilities
.42 .90 .59 .44
Negativity/Instability .56 .88 .74 .86
Identity exploration .56 .90 .58 .98
Feeling in-between .32 .89 .50 .80
Note. MoA ¼Markers of Adulthood; IDEA ¼Inventory of the Dimensions of
Emerging Adulthood; MSEM ¼Multilevel Structural Equation Modeling.
a
Internal consistency for MoA items and overall IDEA-8 is Cronbach’s awhile
internal consistency for IDEA-8 subscales is Spearman’s r.
b
rWG ¼index
comparing agreement between observed and null variance.
c
More details
about the MSEM awithin and between procedures available on the OSF ana-
lytical plan page: https://osf.io/5s4cm.
Table 8. Correlations Between MoA and IDEA-8 Subscales.
Variables 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1. MoA relational
maturity
2. MoA role
transition
.58** —
3. MoA normative
compliance
.43** .31**
4. MoA
independence
.61** .66** .35**
5. IDEA
experimentation
.10** .07** .002 .09**
6. IDEA negativity/
instability
.06** .07** .01 .03 .13**
7. IDEA identity
exploration
.16** .10** .05** .11** .47** .21**
8. IDEA feeling in-
between
.04* .06** .04* .05** .37** .25** .40**
Note.Ns range from 3,142 to 3,151. MoA ¼Markers of Adulthood; IDEA ¼
Inventory of the Dimensions of Emerging Adulthood.
*p< .0001. **p< .00001.
Faas et al. 7
Discussion
The current study examined the utility of the MoA and IDEA-8
through systematically analyzing the measures using a large,
multi-institutional, and multinational data set. More specifi-
cally, the study addressed the current debate related to role-
based versus psychologically based markers of adult role
attainment through analyzing of two valid measures of the tran-
sition from emerging adulthood to young adulthood. While
providing evidence to more effectively describe different ways
of measuring this transition, these findings suggest directions
on how to most effectively use these measures.
The MoA importance items were highly correlated with
each other, which suggests use as a large, single scale. How-
ever, the internal consistency of subscales varied, leading to
only partial support of the first hypothesis. Given this, the use
of one combined scale for MoA importance items is recom-
mended unless interest in specific subscales is present. If so,
balancing the theoretical value and internal consistency of
items is recommended before doing so. These analyses high-
light issues that exist with the MoA factorial structure demon-
strating the difficulty with developing a reliable factor structure
for this measure. The findings also reveal the potential conflict
and factorial messiness that can result from treating prior stud-
ies as a panacea for how factors should be structured. If future
researchers are interested in MoA subscales, an initial factor
analysis should be completed prior to subsequent statistical
analyses being done. Researchers interested in such an
approach could use our analyses as a starting point. There are
other scoring options such as comparing responses from the
MoA importance and achievement items (see Sharon, 2016)
to identify match or discrepancy in the transition phase. This
and other approaches to use a single, combined scale invite
researchers to study the overall concept of MoA rather than
specific subscales.
The second hypothesis that the IDEA-8 would factor into
four reliable subscales was also partially supported. Internal
consistency among items was confirmed; however, the
“Feeling In-Between” subscale displayed internal consistency
below .70. Again, conventional benchmarks with internal con-
sistency were not expected due to each subscale only consisting
of 2 items. It is concluded that, given the brevity and high inter-
nal consistency, the IDEA-8 is valid when used in large, multi-
survey studies. Further, across the two sets of scales, the
correlations between MoA subscales (Mdnr ¼.51) were gener-
ally larger than between the IDEA-8 scales (Mdnr ¼.31) sug-
gesting greater discriminant validity between the IDEA-8
subscales.
Findings associated with the third hypothesis revealed
a small, yet theoretically useful, relationship between MoA
and IDEA-8 items. The highest correlation between MoA and
IDEA-8 subscales was r¼.16 (MoA Relational Maturity and
IDEA-8 Identity Exploration). This is theoretically relevant
as low correlation between the measures suggests the presence
of discriminant validity. This points to the potential differences
between the MoA importance items as a measure of what
constitutes being an adult versus the IDEA-8 items as a mea-
sure of being in a transitional state. For example, the MoA
items in the Relational Maturity subscale ask participants to
indicate the degree to which a set of milestones (committed
to a long-term love relationship;establish a relationship with
parents as an equal adult;learn always to have good control
of your emotions; and become less self-oriented, develop
greater consideration for others) are important in achieving
adulthood. In contrast, the IDEA items in the Identity Explo-
ration subscale ask each participant to think of this time in
their life and indicate how much they agree with the state-
ments “Is this period of your life a time of defining yourself?”
and “Is this period of your life a time of deciding your own
beliefs and values?” Thus, exploration of comparisons
between items within the scales reveals differences between
the measures and likely two unique ways of contemplating
this transition. As these surveys appear to be measuring con-
trasting factors, this provides the opportunity for researchers
to utilize the measures for different types of research ques-
tions associated with the transition to adulthood. As the find-
ings support, the MoA may be used for research questions
that focus on importance or achievement of behavioral
markers that denote the attainment of adulthood while the
IDEA-8 is suitable for those questions focusing on being in
a self-perceived transitional state. Also, as research continues
to explore the diversity among the emerging adulthood pop-
ulation, using the MoA and IDEA-8 will be important to
compare them to the traditional populations that are well
studied in the literature (e.g., college students).
Further, these scales are recommended for use with young
adults in their 30s in order to determine whether there are over-
lapping qualities with emerging adults. Skulborstad and Her-
mann (2016) reported an interesting curvilinear relationship
between age and the IDEA in a similar study. They found that
the decline in experiencing the IDEA constructs was greater in
older respondents, yet there was still variability at all age lev-
els. In other words, these scales should not be restricted to
populations that we only consider emerging adults. Indeed,
these scales could also provide an effective avenue for identi-
fying those who have already made the transition to young
adulthood.
Related, these scales will be helpful as cohorts age.
Researchers who use these measures are capturing data from
the current sociohistorical context. Current researchers could
benefit from having access to measures like the MoA and
IDEA-8 to study how important markers of emerging adult-
hood and adulthood (such as time frames associated with mar-
riage and parenthood) have changed over time. Similarly,
utilizing these measures to gauge research questions related
to how the meaning and timeliness of these markers change
over successive generations is likely to produce relevant and
important findings.
The exploratory analyses conducted on demographic vari-
ables should be helpful for researchers who use the MoA or
IDEA-8 scales to examine specific populations in order to com-
pare their descriptive statistics with these results for
8Emerging Adulthood
consistency. Additionally, it points to the need for the contin-
ued development of MoA and IDEA measures to be inclusive
of all subgroups of emerging adults.
Limitations and Future Directions
The findings from the current study should be considered
within the context of several limitations. First, the generaliz-
ability of the current findings is limited by characteristics of the
sample. A larger and more diverse sample of institutions used
for data collection would provide more robust data analyses
and ability to generalize to a larger group of emerging adults.
Further, related to the observed item means, a more diverse age
range would likely also alter mean scores as there likely exists a
substantive relationship between the average age of respon-
dents and the mean item scores. Obtaining a more diverse age
sample would likely provide respondents who are at various
points along the emerging adult developmental continuum,
thus reducing mean scores for the factors on the IDEA-8.
The findings may also be impacted on how items were writ-
ten. For example, the item, “use contraception if sexually
active and not trying to conceive” was one of the longest items
and includes two parts. The other longest phrase, “become less
self-oriented, develop greater consideration for others” con-
tains two parts. This wording may have created confusion
among participants, thus impacting their responses. Next, the
potential for socially desirable scoring among participants must
also be considered. The surveys included questions that might
be considered sensitive subjects for many. This may have influ-
enced participants to underreport their thoughts and behavior.
Additionally, counterbalancing was not used in the ordering
of the surveys presented to participants, which limits the ability
to rule out the impact of ordering effects within the study.
The EAMMi2 project includes 15 other psychosocial mea-
sures beyond those reported here. Future research should exam-
ine these relationships both using these as single-factor scales
and exploring other scoring techniques (such as the 5 factors
identified in the EFA). Additionally, this analysis only included
the MoA importance items, meaning that we did not consider
participants’ behavioral attainment of these markers. It seems
likely that emerging adults who indicate high levels of identity
exploration or experimentation/possibilities on the IDEA may
be more likely to achieve various MoA in the future. Future
investigations should explore this hypothesis.
Further research should also explore whether an updated list
of MoA might provide a more reliable underlying factor struc-
ture. As mentioned earlier, some items were confusing. Also,
some items might not be as relevant in 2018 as they were in
1997. For instance, the item measuring “illicit drugs” as a mar-
ker could be confusing to modern youth who live in states
where marijuana is legal. Other items such as “capable of
caring” for parents or children are ambiguous at best. Other
studies that specifically test the scale examining milestones
should employ items with better clarity, particularly when test-
ing across diverse populations or cultures.
Finally, we believe that there is much variation from person
to person in how well the traditional MoA relate to their experi-
ences. As society continues to evolve, it may be prudent to
include new items to reflect modern cultural contexts in mark-
ing adulthood. This would likely lead to a two-factor scale: tra-
ditional MoA and modern MoA. Such a revised MoA Scale
would allow for direct measurement of traditional and modern
MoA, giving researchers greater understanding of variability
among participants.
Conclusions
This study highlights the utility of the MoA and IDEA-8 as
separate and distinct measures of the attainment of adulthood.
Utilizing a large, geographically diverse sample, the findings
supported that both measures have strengths and weaknesses.
Comparisons of the measures revealed an opportunity for
researchers to explore both behaviorally based and psychologi-
cally based markers of emerging adulthood while also provid-
ing the potential to explore various, important research
questions concerning this transition. Having this level of theo-
retical and exploratory flexibility is critical to advancing our
knowledge of this important period within the lifespan.
Author Contributions
C. Faas, J. McFall, J. Peer, M. Schmolesky, H. Chalk, and J. Grahe
contributed to conception and design and acquisition, analysis, and
interpretation, drafted the manuscript, critically revised the manu-
script, gave final approval and agree to be accountable for all
aspects of work ensuring integrity and accuracy. A. Hermann,
W. Chopik, D. Leighton, J. Lazzara, A. Kemp, and V. DiLillio
contributed to conception and design and acquisition, drafted the
manuscript, critically revised the manuscript, gave final approval
and agree to be accountable for all aspects of work ensuring integ-
rity and accuracy.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to
the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
Funding
The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship,
and/or publication of this article.
ORCID iD
Joseph McFall https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1222-2271
Jon Grahe https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6970-0863
Open Practices
All data and materials have been made publicly available via the Open
Science Framework and can be accessed at https://osf.io/fevja/.
The complete Open Practices Disclosure for this article can be found
at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/suppl/10.1177/2167696818811192.
This article has received the badges for Open Data, Open Materials, and
Faas et al. 9
Preregistration. More information about the Open Practices badges can
be found at http://www.psychologicalscience.org/publications/badges.
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Author Biographies
Caitlin Faas is an assistant professor of Psychology at Mount
St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, MD. She received her
MS and PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from
Virginia Tech.
Joseph McFall is an associate professor of psychology at Fre-
donia State University of New York. He is a Life-Span Devel-
opmental Psychologist specializing in everyday cognition
(problem solving, decision making, cognitive impairment)
across adulthood as well as research designand analysis.
Justin W. Peer is a lecturer within the Psychology Department
at The University of Michigan–Dearborn. His research focuses
on the relationship between life stressors and developmental
outcomes during emerging adulthood.
Matthew T. Schmolesky is associate professor and chair of
Studies at Georgia Gwinnett College. He received his PhD in
Neuroscience from the University of Utah and MA in
Experimental Psychology from Wake ForestUniversity. He is
a former president of the Intermountain Chapter of the Society
for Neuroscience, former AAAS Science and Technology Fel-
low, and iscurrently a counselor in the Psychology Division of
the Council for Undergraduate Research.
Holly M. Chalk is an associate professor of Psychology at
McDaniel College and a clinical psychologist in private prac-
tice. She received her PhD in Counseling Psychology from the
Ohio State University. Her research focuses on psychological
well being in emerging adults, with a particular interest in
young adults who experience a disability.
Anthony Hermann is a professor of Psychology at Bradley
University. He learned his PhD in social psychology from The
Ohio State University. He is the lead editor of the Handbook of
Trait Narcissism: Key Advances, Research Methods, and
Controversies (2018).
William J. Chopik is an assistant professor at Michigan State
University. He studies the continuity and change of relationship
processes across the life span and individual differences in
responses to intimacy.
Dana C. Leighton is an assistant professor of Psychology at
Texas A&M University—Texarkana. He earned his PhD in
experimental psychology at the University of Arkansas.
Julie Lazzara is residential faculty in the psychology depart-
ment at Paradise Valley Community College.
Andrew Kemp is an associate professor in Psychology at Swan-
sea University, with research interests spanning biological psy-
chology and cognitive neuroscience through to epidemiology
and public health. His research activities have been recognised
internationally including fellowship of the Association for Psy-
chological Science (2017) for sustained, outstanding and distin-
guished contributions to the science of psychology, and one of
the first-ever research professorships awarded by the University
of Sa
˜o Paulo (Brazil) to visitingscholars (2013–2015).
Vicki DiLillio is a professor of psychology at Ohio Wesleyan
University. She is the department’s health psychologist, inter-
ested in (a) modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease
(e.g., obesity, physical activity, stress) and (b) health behaviors
in college students.
Jon Grahe earned his PhD in social psychology from Univer-
sity of Toledo. He is the managing executive editor of the Jour-
nal of Social Psychology and a COS ambassador for Open
Science. He is the director of both the Collaborative Replica-
tions and Education Project and the Emerging Adulthood Mea-
sured at Multiple Institutions project.
Faas et al. 11
... The deductive subscales demonstrated reliability patterns similar to the inductive model and the two methods highlighted the disparities of only using selected items. Faas et al. (2018) examined the psychometric properties of a selection of 20 MoA items and the shortened Inventory of the Dimensions of Emerging Adulthood (IDEA-8; (Baggio et al., 2015)) to assess the measures' internal and discriminant validity. The MoA items were separated into both four-and five-factor models using multilevel exploratory factor analyses, with four factors yielding the best fit and best discrimination among each factor. ...
... While four factors exhibit the best fit for subscale configuration, this model appears to be most reliable when used in its entirety. Three subscales are conceptually similar to those of prior studies (role transitions, independence, relative maturity; Badger et al., 2006;Faas et al., 2018;Fosse et al., 2015). Our fourth factor, legality markers, has not appeared in prior examinations, likely due to including one item written for this model and two items often excluded from other examinations. ...
Article
Young adults endorse more individualistic and internal adulthood milestones compared to prior generations. Arnett (1994) introduced the Markers of Adulthood (MoA) scale to capture this shift in the transition to adulthood using 38 markers associated with becoming an adult, including marriage, having children, and living independently. These items were based on psychological, anthropological, and sociological determinations concerning adulthood, and were arranged into subscales based on their theoretical association rather than statistical analysis. Since the scale was introduced, researchers have addressed crucial questions about the validity of the MoA scale’s milestones. A recurring theme was identifying items that could be sorted into reliable subscales. We examined a collection of original items and included new ones, such as “have a professional social media account” and “recognize personal capabilities and shortcomings” to configure a revised MoA model. A total of 861 participants in seven national locations responded to a demographic survey, the Inventory of the Dimensions of Emerging Adulthood (IDEA; Reifman, et al., 2007), and a collection of MoA items. We conducted a principal component analysis to identify 22 items and four factors (role transitions, independence, legality markers, and relative maturity) which represented 55% of the total variance in the dataset. All factors except legality markers were identified by prior researchers. While four factors demonstrated the best fit for subscale configurations, the revised MoA was considered most reliable when used in its entirety. Our examination ends with a discussion of future directions for configuring items which may produce reliable subscales.
... As for why paternal relationship satisfaction was a stronger predictor of life satisfaction is currently unknown and we can only speculate. One potential explanation is that, in their desire for more independence and autonomy, emerging adults and parents are often at odds about developmental milestones and the degree to which emerging adults either can, have, or should meet various milestones (Faas et al., 2020;Nelson et al., 2007). There is some evidence that emerging adults might have more antagonistic relationships with their mothers around these issues of independence and autonomy (Nelson et al., 2007). ...
Article
Full-text available
Highly satisfying social relationships make us happy and healthy—they fill us with joy and a sense of meaning and purpose. But do all the relationships in our lives contribute equally to our well-being and do some people benefit more from certain relationships? The current study examined associations between the satisfaction of specific relationships within a family (i.e., with parents, siblings) and adjustment (i.e., life satisfaction and depressive symptoms) among 572 emerging adults aged 18–25 (Mage = 19.95, SD = 1.42; 77.4% female). Overall, relationship satisfaction with mothers and fathers was associated with better adjustment. Attachment anxiety and avoidance moderated associations between relationship-specific satisfaction and adjustment. We discuss the findings in the context of the shifting of attachment functions during emerging adulthood and the dynamic nature of close relationships across the lifespan.
... Looking after the interests of the family and community was also a requisite for adulthood. In contrast, emerging adults from individualistic countries prioritized qualities like decision-making skills and equal treatment from parents (Faas et al., 2018;Galanaki & Sideridis, 2018). This disparity reflects the impact of culture on beliefs of adulthood. ...
Article
Full-text available
Recent studies suggest that emerging adulthood is culturally constructed and therefore experienced differently across countries. There is a lack of research on this subject in developing and culturally diverse countries, and this is the reason why the transition to adulthood in multi-ethnic Malaysia deserves an empirical inquiry. The aim of this study is to explore the conceptualization of adulthood among Malaysian university students. The data was drawn from group interviews with 21 undergraduate students aged 20–25 from a private university in northern Peninsular Malaysia. Responses were based on two research questions: “What is your definition of adulthood” and “What are the essential criteria for a person to be acknowledged as having attained adulthood?” Results that emerged from the participants’ responses to these questions were analysed, revealing six major themes, namely (i) getting married, (ii) financial independence, (iii) individualism, (iv) culture, (v) emotional maturity, and (vi) social maturity, as the main criteria for determining adulthood. Also evident were contrasting perceptions of adulthood between male and female participants. Women placed more emphasis on emotional maturity, whereas men on social maturity. This study adds to the growing literature examining the perception of adulthood within cultural variations, and further research is warranted in a broader context, especially on the perceptions of non-student participants.
Article
Background: Research on the core features of emerging adulthood has disproportionately focused on students from four-year universities. Methods: Using data from the EAMMi2 project (Grahe et al ., 2018), we assess whether the core features of emerging adulthood (as the age of possibilities, instability, identity explorations, and feeling in-between) vary between four-year university and community college students. We also explore how emerging adults compare on the need to belong and subjective well-being. Results: Four-year university students (N = 1,221) identified more strongly with the negativity/instability and feeling in-between dimensions of emerging adulthood than community college students (N = 300). Community college students, however, were higher on identity exploration, with no differences between the groups in identification with the experimentation/possibilities feature of emerging adulthood. Four-year students reported higher well-being and higher belonging needs compared to their counterparts at community colleges. Regardless of school type, experimentation/possibilities and feeling in-between predicted higher well-being whereas negativity/instability predicted lower well-being and higher belonging needs. Conclusion: These findings highlight nuance in the experiences of emerging adulthood, as evidenced by both some shared experiences and group-level differences.
Article
Registered reports are a relatively new type of journal article format in which the decision to publish an article is based on sound conceptualization, methods, and planned analyses rather than the specific nature of the results. Registered reports are becoming increasingly instituted in journals across the sciences but mostly in experimental contexts. Relatively few of these journals pertain directly to developmental research with adolescents, emerging adults, and adults, which tend to use more complex methods, or at least methods that involve a greater degree of flexibility. This article describes lessons learned through editing a special issue focused on registered reports based on analyses of a single existing data set, the Emerging Adulthood Measured and Multiple Institutions 2 project. These observations should be helpful for researchers interested in preparing registered report submissions using developmental and secondary data.
Article
Recent research reveals that some variability in personality differences can be explained by contextual factors such as location. Although little research has systematically evaluated how such variables predict individual differences in Emerging Adulthood, Fosse and Toyokawa (2016) revealed that characteristics of one’s university such as selectivity and liberal arts classification did predict respondents’ perceived importance and attainment of milestones associated with adulthood. As a close replication of Fosse and Toyokawa (2016), the present findings supported our preregistered hypotheses that liberal arts status predicted decreased perceived importance and lower attainment of some constructs of markers of adulthood but did not support predictions that selectivity would also predict such differences. Our findings provide further evidence of the institutional effects that emerge in multisample individual difference studies and extend those findings with a broader and more diverse sample than was considered previously. © 2018 Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood and SAGE Publishing.
Book
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Since 1960, the lives of young people in their late teens and twenties have changed so dramatically that a new stage of life has developed. In his provocative work, Jeffrey Jensen Arnett has identified the period of emerging adulthood as distinct from both the adolescence that precedes it and the young adulthood that comes in its wake. Arnett's new theory has created an entire thriving field of research due to his book that launched the field, Emerging Adulthood. On the 10th Anniversary of the publication of his groundbreaking work, the second edition of Emerging Adulthood fully updates and expands Arnett's findings and includes brand new chapters on media use, social class issues, and the distinctive problems of this life stage. Merging stories from the lives of emerging adults themselves with decades of research, Arnett covers a wide range of other topics as well, including love and sex, relationships with parents, experiences at college and work, and views of what it means to be an adult. As the nature of growing up and the meaning of adulthood further evolve, Emerging Adulthood will continue to be essential reading for understanding ages 18-29.
Article
Full-text available
The later attainment of traditional adult roles by today’s youth compared to their counterparts of earlier decades has garnered considerable scholarly and public attention. This article describes a recent concept related to the transition to adulthood, known as emerging adulthood, including a discussion of relevant theory and historical background research. We then introduce a measurement instrument, the Inventory of the Dimensions of Emerging Adulthood (IDEA), which assesses identification with transition-to-adulthood themes. Results of initial scale-development studies were largely supportive of the measure’s reliability and validity. Respondents in their 20s identified with relevant themes to a greater extent than did their younger and older counterparts. Marital status differences on the IDEA emerged, but college and non-college respondents were largely similar. Finally, we provide suggestions for how parent educators can make use of the IDEA instrument in advising parents and their emerging adult children.
Article
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Interest in "Emerging Adulthood" (EA) as a unique developmental period has increased. This study examined the heterogeneity of EA among at-risk youth (N=1,677) by identifying trajectories of development across individuals. First, an 8-item version of the Inventory of Dimensions of EA (IDEA) measure was tested for factorial invariance across three time points; the 5-item EA measure was found to be factorially invariant. Next, latent class growth modeling identified three unique developmental trajectories. Lastly, classes were compared on demographics and health-risk behaviors. Class 1 represented a large, low-risk class (highest on EA). Classes 2 and 3 were comparably sized (~5% of the sample). Class 2 appears to be a high-risk class that decreases in EA, while Class 3 appears to be a medium-risk class that increases in EA. This study confirms that not everyone experiences EA similarly and that continuation high school students do not circumvent EA (move directly to adulthood).
Article
Full-text available
In this commentary to the special issue of Emerging Adulthood edited by Reifman and Grahe, I seek to provide a broader developmental context for the studies. I begin by describing the rise in college participation over the past century, noting that even now only about 20% attend 4-year residential colleges and universities. Then, I describe some of the distinctive characteristics of these students, such as that they tend to be from higher socioeconomic status families and they are disproportionately White and female (which is true of the present student samples as well). I apply this lens briefly to the articles in the special issue, noting some of the ways the college context is important for interpreting the results. Finally, I discuss some possible future directions for this line of research, for example, in comparisons of students such as these to noncollege samples and in cross-national comparisons.
Article
Full-text available
In a series of papers Jeffrey Arnett defines the age range between 18-25 as emerging adulthood. For a number of ethnic groups it has been found to be a particular culturally-constructed period of life course bridging adolescence and young adulthood. The primary purpose of this first exploratory study was to examine conceptions of the transition to adulthood and what criteria are endorsed when defining what an adult is among 183 Greek higher education students. Similarly to other developed countries with different cultural traditions such as the US, undergraduate students in Greece view themselves as no longer adolescents but not yet fully adults, i.e. they are best described as emerging adults. The respondents viewed internal, psychological attributes as most important as markers of adulthood, reflecting individualistic aspects. No gender differences were found with the exception of the stronger endorsement of female students in the Independence Scale.
Article
Recent research reveals that some variability in personality differences can be explained by contextual factors such as location. Although little research has systematically evaluated how such variables predict individual differences in Emerging Adulthood, Fosse and Toyokawa (2016) revealed that characteristics of one’s university such as selectivity and liberal arts classification did predict respondents’ perceived importance and attainment of milestones associated with adulthood. As a close replication of Fosse and Toyokawa (2016), the present findings supported our preregistered hypotheses that liberal arts status predicted decreased perceived importance and lower attainment of some constructs of markers of adulthood but did not support predictions that selectivity would also predict such differences. Our findings provide further evidence of the institutional effects that emerge in multisample individual difference studies and extend those findings with a broader and more diverse sample than was considered previously. © 2018 Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood and SAGE Publishing.
Article
This study examines middle-class consumption and lifestyle during the transition to adulthood in the United States. Based on analysis of qualitative data from interviews with emerging adults between adolescence and settled adulthood, we argue that middle-class emerging adulthood is marked by a focus on exploratory experience consumption: the consumption of novel experiences with cultural capital potential. This tacit, embodied orientation is rooted in a habitus developed during entitled childhoods but is also shaped by an anticipated shortage of opportunities for exploration after they marry and have children. Accordingly, middle-class emerging adults voraciously consume exploratory experiences in the present with their imagined future selves in mind. The class basis for this orientation is examined through our analysis of interviews with working-class emerging adults whose lifestyles are characterized not by exploratory experience consumption but by a desire for the familiar, a fear of the unknown, and a longing for stability. The discussion focuses on how the middle-class consumer orientation toward exploratory experiences reinforces class (dis)advantage, life trajectories, and inequality.
Article
Transition-to-adulthood themes, or thoughts and feelings about emerging adulthood, have been measured by the Inventory of the Dimensions of Emerging Adulthood (IDEA) and found to be associated with substance use among emerging adults. It has been suggested, however, that the IDEA is lengthy and may not include the most unique and theoretically relevant constructs of emerging adulthood. The Revised Inventory of the Dimensions of Emerging Adulthood (IDEA-R) was developed as an alternative instrument, but research has yet to determine the relationship between the IDEA-R and substance use among emerging adults (ages 18-25 years). College students completed surveys indicating their identification with transition-to-adulthood themes and substance use. Logistic regression models examined the associations between transition-to-adulthood themes and marijuana use and binge drinking, respectively. Participants who felt emerging adulthood was a time of identity exploration were less likely to report marijuana use, while feelings of experimentation/possibility were positively associated with marijuana use and binge drinking. The IDEA-R may be useful for identifying correlates of substance use among emerging adults. Future research should evaluate the IDEA-R among representative samples of emerging adults to confirm the findings of this study. Health professionals working in substance use prevention may consider targeting the themes of identity exploration and experimentation/possibility in programs intended for emerging adults.
Article
Psychopathy has been shown to be a risk factor for antisocial behavior, aggression, violence, and criminal offending. Elucidating the variables that predict the likelihood of psychopathy, therefore, is important. The current study used the risk and resiliency approach to test the possible risk and protective factors of primary psychopathy using a noninstitutionalized college-aged sample. Of particular interest, we tested the individual and cumulative risk of several defining features of emerging adulthood (assessed using the Inventory of the Dimensions of Emerging Adulthood measure), sex of participant, and trait mindfulness. Participants (N = 822) from various colleges and universities in the United States completed questionnaires used to assess the pertinent variables using a correlational design. Results showed that sex (i.e., male), low mindfulness, low identity exploration, and low other-focused orientation were risk factors for primary psychopathy. Results are discussed in terms of the importance of emerging adulthood development.