Psychological Development Across the Lifespan

Early Adulthood (19–40)

What did Levinson say about early adulthood?

In the novice phase of early adulthood (roughly age seventeen to thirty-three), the young adult is creating the initial life structure. This is a very difficult task for people with so little life experience, and choices are based more on a dream of what life should be than on personal experience. At the age thirty transition, people have the opportunity to evaluate their life as lived so far. For the first time in their life, they have a past as an adult as well as a future. They can compare their actual experiences with their original life dream, and consider what part of their life structure needs to be revised. In the culminating phase (33 to 45), the initial life structure is brought to fruition. The adult experiences both the gratifications and the disappointments in life as it has turned out to be. This era ends when the adult transitions into the next major life era, middle adulthood.


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