The modern transition to adulthood spans a long and varied path, and little is understood about what factors may prevent some adults from making important role transitions such as commitment in relationships, independent living, and career stability, or gaining a subjective sense of adulthood. Through an electronic survey, this study measured role transitions, sense of adulthood, self-identification as an adult, and attachment styles in a sample of 469 U.S. adults between the ages of 25 and 35. Overall, it was shown that a higher sense of adulthood was positively correlated with a secure attachment style and negatively correlated with four different styles of insecure attachment. Additionally, self-identification as an adult was also positively correlated with a secure attachment style, and negatively correlated with styles of insecure attachment. These results are consistent with previous research, which has demonstrated that secure attachment is related to achievement of a wide variety of developmental outcomes across the lifespan. Less than 40% of participants reported that they felt they had reached adulthood at the time of taking the survey, which raises the question of whether the emerging adulthood stage is completed prior to age 30. Exploratory analyses of the relationship between adulthood and other variables such as age, gender, and role transitions are included. Clinical implications are discussed with an emphasis on attachment-focused psychotherapy as a potential intervention for adults challenged by making developmentally appropriate role transitions.
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