Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work


Social Work

First Advisor

Maria Scannapieco


This dissertation adds to Erikson's theory of psychosocial development by adding a stage between adolescence and young adulthood called emerging adulthood. It was theorized that the crisis of emerging adulthood, incarnation versus impudence, is resolved through experimental sexuality, temporal and spatial social and intimate relationships, interdependence and self-sufficiency and dependence and helplessness, and relativist and absolutist ideological experimentation. Research on transitions to adulthood and a sociological phenomenon of emerging adulthood, boomerang children, provide the background for study of Eriksonian emerging adulthood. An online questionnaire was created to collect data to determine if the theorized dimensions of emerging adulthood contribute to crisis resolution. The survey examined demographic information, boomerang living experiences, and crisis resolution using several instruments, including a measurement instrument created for the purpose of this research, Patterson's Eriksonian Emerging Adulthood Survey (PEEAS). A sample of 586 participants from the ages of 18 to 68 years took part in the survey. Statistical methods used to test hypotheses included Pearson's r, ANOVA, post hoc tests, t-tests, and correlations. Results indicate that the crisis of emerging adulthood is resolved through dimensions of emerging adulthood, and boomerang living situations are not detrimental to emerging adult development. On the contrary, it was discovered that as emerging adults successfully resolve incarnation versus impudence, they are more likely to boomerang to the parental home. Implications for social work include a need for more research into emerging adulthood, implementation of that research into social work practice in order to help young people and their parents better understand emerging adulthood, and normalizing the trend of boomerang living as an acceptable path to adulthood.


Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Work


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Social Work Commons