An examination of emerging adulthood in Romanian college students


criteria for adulthood, emerging adulthood, identity, Romania


Little work has been done to examine emerging adulthood in Eastern European countries such as Romania that are making the transition out of communism into the broader free-market economy of Western Europe. The purpose of this study was to (a) examine the criteria that college students in Romania have for adulthood, and (b) explore whether differences in adulthood criteria, achievement of those criteria, and identity development are related to variations in adult status (i.e., perceptions of being an adult coupled with taking on adult responsibilities). Participants included 230 Romanian young people (136 women, 94 men) aged 18—27 attending a university in Romania’s second largest city. Results found that (a) the majority of Romanian young people did not consider themselves to be adults; (b) issues related to relational maturity, financial independence, and norm compliance ranked as the most important criteria for adulthood; (c) there was pervasive optimism about the future, including careers, relationships, finances, and overall quality of life; and (d) findings regarding identity development differed according to the extent that young people perceived themselves to be adults and whether or not they had taken on adult roles.

Original Publication Citation

Nelson, L. J. (2009). An examination of emerging adulthood in Romanian college students. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 33, 402-411.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


International Journal of Behavioral Development




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor