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Benson, Janel E.; Johnson, Monica Kirkpatrick; & Elder, Glen H., Jr. (2012). The Implications of Adult Identity for Educational and Work Attainment in Young Adulthood. Developmental Psychology, 48(6), 1752-1758. PMCID: PMC3760412


This study investigates the relation of young adult identities (ages 18–22 years), reflecting subjective age and psychosocial maturity, to educational and career attainment in young adulthood (ages 25–29 years). Add Health data show that having an older subjective age alone does not curtail attainment; the critical issue is the level of psychosocial maturity that accompanies subjective age. Those with older subjective ages and low psychosocial maturation have the lowest attainment at ages 25–29 years, while those with older subjective ages and high psychosocial maturation show considerable progress toward work-related attainment. For those with younger subjective ages, a lower level of psychosocial maturity is not as detrimental to attainment.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Developmental Psychology


Benson, Janel E.
Johnson, Monica Kirkpatrick
Elder, Glen H., Jr.