What is an emerging young adult?

5 struggles of emerging young adult

Traditionally, the developmental period from age 18 to 26 has been recognized as late adolescence. However, recent research challenges this perception, suggesting that the phase of adolescence concludes around age 18. In its place emerges a distinct developmental stage known as “emerging adulthood.” At Cornerstones of Maine, we embrace this new perspective and view emerging adulthood as a unique developmental stage with its own set of needs and challenges. This allows us to tailor our approach to address the specific developmental issues that young adults face during this critical phase of life.

Key features of emerging young adults

emerging young adult



Emerging adulthood is a distinctive phase of life, marked by a range of unique features and challenges. Understanding these key aspects is essential in providing support and guidance to young adults during this critical period.


Identity Exploration:


  • Young adults engage in a profound quest for self-identity.

  • They explore questions related to values, beliefs, and purpose.

  • This phase involves experimenting with different roles and life directions.



  • Emerging young adults often experience a sense of instability.

  • Uncertainty about the future and frequent life changes contribute to this feeling.

  • It’s a period marked by transitions in education, careers, and relationships.

Self Focus:


  • This stage is characterized by a focus on personal growth and self-development.

  • Young adults prioritize their own goals and aspirations.

  • It’s a time for self-discovery and self-improvement.

Feeling In Between:


  • Emerging adults often feel “in between” adolescence and full-fledged adulthood.

  • They may not yet fully embrace adult responsibilities but have outgrown many aspects of their teenage years.

  • This transitional phase can lead to a sense of being betwixt and between.



  • Despite the challenges, many emerging young adults approach this phase with optimism.

  • They have high hopes for their future and believe they can achieve their goals.

  • This optimism can be a driving force for personal development and success.



Our Approach

It’s important to acknowledge that not all emerging young adults have the same experience during this phase. While this period of development is inherently complex, some individuals appear better equipped to navigate it with minimal distress. In contrast, others may encounter significant symptoms and interference with their daily lives. Those who are struggling during this time may exhibit behaviors such as substance abuse, depression, anxiety, isolation, and motivational issues.


The Cornerstones of Maine program is uniquely positioned to address the challenges faced by emerging young adults. Our approach focuses on managing symptomatic expressions while delving deeper into the underlying developmental issues our clients confront. By providing a supportive and nurturing environment, we assist young adults in overcoming obstacles on their path to independence and self-discovery. Emerging adulthood is a pivotal phase of development that demands a nuanced understanding of its unique features and challenges. At Cornerstones of Maine, we are committed to supporting emerging young adults as they navigate this transformative journey. By tailoring our approach to address the specific needs of each individual, we foster personal growth, resilience, and a brighter future during this critical phase of life. If you or someone you know is embarking on the path of emerging adulthood and requires support, our program is here to help.

young adult emerging