The period of adolescence is lasting much longer than it used to, according to some psychologists.
Traditionally, the period of adolescence — when people transition to adulthood — ended at 19-years-old.
Now some researchers believe this transition is not happening until 24-years-old.
Many young people do not marry until their early 30s
A few decades ago many would be married in their early 20s.
Young people are also living with their parents longer than they used to.
They are having children later and spending longer in education.
Many young people in the UK do not leave home until they are 25-years-old.
Professor Susan Sawyer, the study’s first author, said:
“Age definitions are always arbitrary, but our current definition of adolescence is overly restricted.
The ages of 10-24 years are a better fit with the development of adolescents nowadays.”
The study’s authors write:
“An expanded and more inclusive definition of adolescence is essential for developmentally appropriate framing of laws, social policies, and service systems.
Rather than age 10–19 years, a definition of 10–24 years corresponds more closely to adolescent growth and popular understandings of this life phase and would facilitate extended investments across a broader range of settings.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health (Sawyer et al., 2018).