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Eval Health Prof. 2017 Dec;40(4):383-400. doi: 10.1177/0163278716663602. Epub 2016 Aug 29.

Emerging Adulthood: A Time of Changes in Psychosocial Well-Being.

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1 Life Course and Social Inequality Research Centre, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.
2 Alcohol Treatment Centre, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Lausanne, Switzerland.
3 Centre for the Understanding of Social Processes, University of Neuch√Ętel, Neuch√Ętel, Switzerland.
4 Addiction Switzerland, Lausanne, Switzerland.
5 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
6 University of the West of England, Bristol, UK.


The principal aim of this study was to investigate the psychosocial well-being of emerging adults using psychological states associated with this transitional phase and classic measures of emerging adulthood. We expected psychological states to be more closely associated with psychological well-being than classic markers of achieved adulthood. Data were collected in the Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors from 4,991 Swiss men aged 18-25 years. The assessment included the Short Form of the Inventory of Dimensions of Emerging Adulthood (IDEA-8), classic markers of achieved adulthood (e.g., financial independence, stable relationship), and psychosocial well-being. Structural equation models (SEMs) were conducted to test the association between measures of emerging adulthood and psychosocial well-being. Overall, the results highlighted contrasting associations of measures of emerging adulthood and psychosocial well-being. Youths facing negative psychological states (dimension "negativity") and exploring life without knowing how to define themselves (dimension "identity exploration") had a decreased psychosocial well-being. On the contrary, youths exploring many opportunities with an optimistic perspective (dimension "experimentation") had an increased psychosocial well-being. By contrast, classic markers of adulthood were less related to psychosocial well-being. The IDEA-8 Scale appeared to be a useful screening tool for identifying vulnerable youths, and emerging adulthood should be measured with a focus on the psychological states associated with this period. This information may be valuable for mental health systems that have not yet adapted to emerging adults' needs.


at-risk population; health behavior; measurement; mental health; transition to adulthood; well-being

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