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Designing life: studies of emerging adult development

Publication Authors: 
Timothy Scott Reilly
Publication Year: 
Publication Journal: 
Stanford Digital Repository

Emerging adulthood often includes a number of important transitions, moving out of the parental home, and transitioning from life as a student to work. Much research on this period of life focuses on work development; however, the present studies instead focus on self-development more broadly. In order to understand such development, these studies are integrated with a course on life design. Three methodologies are brought to bear, a survey study drawing on measures of well being and goals examining participants and non-participants, an interview study focusing on emerging adults conceptions of morality, and an observational and repeated interview study examining course activities and course participants experiences of and reflections on those activities. These studies demonstrate the relevance of the course to increases in life meaningfulness, personal growth, life decision-making, and moral formation. They also serve to demonstrate new models of goal development and moral development. These findings are then interepreted as they illuminate meaning and emerging adult development.