research

One of the largest-ever generations is quickly making the passage into adulthood. Generations tend to embody a personality, just like an individual, and a large portion of the younger generation is taking longer to grow up. Why?

It’s cultural. And complex. 

The time period an individual was born can have more influence on personality than the family from which they came. People resemble the times more than they resemble their fathers. In other words, the historical and cultural times in which we live shape people. The Millennial Generation (following Gen X) is aptly named for being the first cohort to come of age in the new millennium. The first generation to come of age in the Information Age. Yet the Millennial Generation consists of a unique tapestry of people that cannot be described in broad monolithic brushstrokes. 

My interests are guided by these core questions: 

Where is society headed given the shaping influences on our young? 

How do we prepare a generation for an increasingly uncertain future?

My inquiry in this area was sparked in my post-college years when I, and a group of close friends, began to experience what we referred to as The Twenties BeatDown; a humorous term to describe some of the harder and unexpected realities of life in your twenties. My hunch was that something different was going on in our generation and I wanted to see if it was real. Thus, I began interviewing my peers and eventually matriculated into graduate school to study Human Development.

My work is based on the seminal human developmental theory by psychologist, Dr. Erik Erikson, and on the works of sociologist, Dr. James Côté, one of the world’s top scholars in identity formation, culture, and the transition to adulthood in late-modern society. Coming of age is more difficult in today’s more complex civilization and many people can get ‘stuck’ or frustrated in making their way. My efforts focus on addressing this issue through mentoring and other applications using cutting edge identity development theory. Young adults must take a proactive strategy in undertaking their own identity formation called developmental individualization.

Identity development is a dynamic process, and it is my belief that technology media, particularly those media we use to relate to one another, may be having a deleterious effect on identity, the quality of human relationships, and thus our societal fabric.

Relational Technology Eroding Social Fabric, Times-Dispatch, Lichtenberger

There are other significant obstacles in economics, labor, education, and the general fractured nature of society that are having a significant impact on human development. I also believe the gradual compromise of integrity and ethics over the last several decades in the realms of commerce, government, and education is showing symptoms in the young generation. How these symptoms will play out in the future has yet to be determined.

“There is no more critical indicator of the future of a society than the character, competence, and integrity of its youth.” -Dr. Urie Bronfenbrenner