Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Rachel Miller-Slough

Committee Members

Andrea Clements, Diana Morelen


Emerging adulthood is a developmental period characterized by the themes of identity exploration, instability, feeling in-between, being self-focused, and exploring possibilities (Arnett, 2006). Emerging adults are at higher risk for anxiety as they navigate novel developmental experiences and responsibilities (Kranszler et al., 2019). This study explores whether these themes map on to the experiences of modern-day emerging adults, and whether developmental functioning corresponds to anxiety. College students completed standard questionnaires and provided free-text responses about adjusting to adulthood. Identity exploration and instability were perceived as the most positive and negative aspects of aging, respectively, though response-type varied by participant demographics. Several responses were not captured by these themes. Participants’ ability to engage in self-care and their living situation were negatively associated with current anxiety. These findings provide important directions for expanding theoretical models and measurement of emerging adulthood.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.