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The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of young people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-eight in Ireland to establish the prevalence of what has become known in popular culture as the quarter-life crisis. This transitional period in a young person’s life is academically referred to as emerging adulthood and is a time of great change and personal growth. The study utilised a qualitative approach; individual interviews and focus groups were carried out with the identified research group. The findings of the study indicated that indeed, emerging adulthood is a challenging time, and for some, it is a time in crisis. A variety of stressors commonly arise in the lives of emerging adults, relating mainly to personal relationships, living arrangements, financial issues and identity development. Emotional responses to these were varied, including both positive and negative emotions as participants reflected on their current life and future. In many instances, it became apparent that the crisis experienced during emerging adulthood served a purpose, as a stimulus for change and development. The significance of this study rested in its attempt to expand literature on this life period within an Irish context and to determine ways in which emerging adults might be supported during this challenging period of developmental transition.
Murphy, Mairead: Emerging adulthood in Ireland: Is the quarter-life crisis a common experience? Dublin, DIT, September 2011.