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Shulman, S. Blatt, S.J. Feldman, B. (2006). Vicissitudes of the Impetus for Growth and Change among Emerging Adults. Psychoanal. Psychol., 23(1):159-180.

(2006). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 23(1):159-180

Vicissitudes of the Impetus for Growth and Change among Emerging Adults

Shmuel Shulman, Ph.D., Sidney J. Blatt, Ph.D. and Benni Feldman, Ph.D.

The aim of this study was to understand why some emerging adults pursue their goals in effective ways while others become involved in projects or set goals that collapse after a period of time. In order to examine the inner processes which may explain this phenomenon, in-depth interviews were conducted with 70 emerging adults aged 21 to 26. The interviews revealed two main modes in the pursuit of goals among emerging adults. In the “doing-oriented” mode, individuals were extensively invested in a constant pursuit for its own sake, hardly thinking about what they do, and why. In contrast, in the “reflective-oriented” mode, emerging adults were highly reflective about their behaviors, motivations, and future projected plans. Integrating developmental and psychoanalytic thinking, our data propose new understandings of the inner processes through which emerging adults may experience and direct their lives.

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