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Counseling, Counseling Services


Emerging adulthood refers to a stage of development between adolescence and adulthood, generally encompassing the 18-29 age range. Sweeping societal changes during the latter 20th and early 21st centuries have resulted in a markedly different subjective experience in emerging adulthood compared to prior generations of 18- to 29-year-olds. Prominent features of emerging adulthood include demographic instability, feeling in-between, self-focus, prolonged identity exploration, and possibilities. Emerging adulthood is considered to be a critical period for well-being and functioning: impulsivity, risk-taking behaviors, and psychiatric onset are elevated in this age range, presumably because emerging adults concurrently experience the freedom and autonomy of adulthood and the self-focus and moratorium from responsibility characteristic of adolescence. Given that counselors are likely to encounter emerging adult clients in a myriad of counseling settings, including mental health, school, and college, it is paramount that our profession continues to be educated regarding the many changing landscapes of being an 18- to 29-year-old and the implications for promoting well-being and positive developmental trajectories among such clients.

Related research has noted the importance of attachment relationships in emerging adulthood. Early caregiver relationships impact attitudes toward help-seeking in times of distress, which, in turn, impact beliefs regarding self and others throughout the lifespan. Emerging adult research has demonstrated that attachment relationships shape the developmental trajectories of emerging adults and predict social support, psychological well-being, and depressive symptomology.

This presentation will focus on specific implications that emerging adult attachment research have for counselors working with clients in this age group. The presenters will utilize an interactive lecture format to discuss the extensive research they have conducted in this area, namely the impact of emerging adult attachment on subjective self-perceptions, life transition, social relationships, well-being, and professional self-efficacy. Attendees will gain a firm understanding of emerging adult theory, the role attachment plays in promoting emerging adult well-being, and practical applications that can be utilized in various counseling settings.


Presented at the 2014 American Counseling Association Conference and Exposition, Honolulu, HI

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