Call for Papers: Special Issue on Established Adulthood

Guest Editors:   Clare M. Mehta, PhD, Emmanuel College, and Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, PhD, Clark University

Important Dates

  • 250-Word Letter of Intent Due: January 30, 2021
  • Invitations to Submit a Full-Length Manuscript Sent: March 11, 2021
  • Deadline for Full Manuscript Submissions: August 3, 2021

Background and Aims of the Special Issue
In the past few decades, psychological research and theory has made substantial progress in outlining many of the periods that comprise of the adult lifespan. For example, the conceptualization of emerging adulthood highlighted development between years 18 to 29 (Arnett, 2000; 2015), studies of midlife in the USA (MIDUS) and Japan (MIDJA) deepened our understanding of middle adulthood (Brim et al., 2004; Ryff et al., 2008), and rising longevity has increased theory and research on older adulthood (Kunkel et al., 2014). 

Despite this increased focus on adulthood in psychological science, one period of the adult lifespan has been under- investigated - the period from age 30 to 45, recently conceptualized as established adulthood (Mehta et al., 2020).  This is a period of the lifespan when many people are deeply absorbed in their jobs and/or careers while fulfilling the relational responsibilities of an intimate partnership, caring for children, and assisting aging parents (Mehta et al., 2020).  We believe that it is important to learn more about established adulthood because the years from 30 to 45 are often the most intense and demanding years of adult life, when adults are dealing with elevated and often competing demands in work and family domains.  Success or difficulty in handling the intensity of the collision of these obligations has the potential to profoundly influence the rest of a person’s adult life (Mehta et al., 2020).

This special issue aims to bring together research on this newly conceptualized period of established adulthood. Papers may utilize qualitative or quantitative methodology, and may focus on any area of research or theory related to the experiences of those aged 30 to 45. We encourage work that highlights the distinctiveness of established adulthood from emerging adulthood and midlife and papers that focus on the Career-and-Care-Crunch of competing work and family responsibilities. We also encourage papers that consider variations in the timing and experience of established adulthood, including variations by race/ethnicity, gender, culture, and social class.  Papers should include suggestions for future research and, where appropriate, policy implications and recommendations.  

Manuscript Submission
Letters of intent should include manuscript titleauthor names and affiliations, and a 250-word (maximum) abstract of the proposed submission. Abstracts should explain how the proposed paper will address the goal of the special issue, i.e., contributing to the expansion of theory and research on established adulthood. Letters of intent and all inquiries should be sent by January 30, 2021 to both Dr. Clare Mehta ( and Dr. Jeffrey Arnett ( Editorial decisions on letters of intent will be sent by March 11, 2021. Full manuscripts will be due on August 3, 2021.

Please note that all papers will be peer-reviewed and there is no guarantee of acceptance. Full manuscripts must be prepared according to the manuscript submission guidelines on the Journal of Adult Development webpage and submitted electronically via the journal's manuscript submission portal.

Please send any questions or inquiries to both Guest Editors (e-mail addresses as above).

The Guest Editors look forward to reviewing all submitted proposals and manuscripts.