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Emerging Adulthood Special Interest Group


In 2010, the highest rates (17.7%) of mental illness were among emerging adults 18 to 25 years of age. In 2012, more than 19% of persons between the ages of 18 and 25 had an identifiable mental illness, with 4.1% identified as having a serious mental illness (US Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, 2013). Despite the growing need for developmentally oriented mental health services for this age group, the special needs of emerging adults are largely neglected as they transition from child to adult systems of care. Thus, there is need for a professional forum where clinicians and researchers can advocate for this age group and best practices in the psychological assessment and treatment of emerging adults can be developed, organized, and disseminated. Given the need for developmentally informed services for this age group, clinical child and adolescent psychologists are likely to find clinical work with emerging adults a natural extension of work done from a developmental perspective with younger clients.

Consequently, the Emerging Adulthood Special Interest Group (EA SIG) of the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology is dedicated to the promotion of policy, practice, research, and training directly relevant to the psychological assessment and treatment of individuals 18 to 25 years of age.

The primary goal of the EA SIG is to provide a professional forum that supports the development of psychological science and practice designed to promote the well-being of individuals experiencing social and psychological difficulty during the developmental transition from adolescence to early adulthood.

To this end, the EA SIG is interested in:

a. Educating others about emerging adult development
b. Promoting awareness of the service needs of this age group
c. Supporting research relevant to the psychological assessment and treatment of emerging adults
d. Developing models of service delivery for this age group
e. Defining best practices for use with this age group
f. Disseminating information about the psychological assessment and treatment of this age group

The EA SIG is also interested in pursuing these goals through collaboration with other professional organizations in a manner consistent with the goals of the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology and the American Psychological Association. As such, the EA SIG seeks to establish a national platform for the exploration and development of psychological science and practice devoted to emerging adulthood mental health. Establishing a presence of this kind will help to mobilize clinical efforts to support emerging adults as they transition from adolescence to adulthood.


The EA SIG seeks to be a national educational and collaborative resource for psychology students, clinicians, parents and families, and emerging adults involved in mental health systems of care.

Promote Awareness

The EA is interested in highlighting:

  • The normative developmental milestones of emerging adults and subsequent deviations associated with psychiatric difficulties
  • Treatment needs of emerging adults
  • Psychosocial factors related to mental health outcomes among emerging adults
  • Current national and federal policies and initiatives related to transitioning youth
  • Best practices in service delivery among emerging adults


The EA SIG will identify and establish research priorities for emerging adults with psychological difficulties, with a particular emphasis on the difficulties encountered during the transition to adulthood. This includes the identification and empirical exploration of theoretical models, measurement tools, methodological approaches, and interventions specific to emerging adults.

Service Delivery and the Promotion of Best Practices

The EA SIG seeks to articulate and highlight the best practices in service delivery to emerging adults experiencing psychiatric difficulty. In this regard, the EA SIG will also develop and support efforts to begin to establish an empirical base focused on mental health service delivery to emerging adults.


As a network of concerned scientists and practitioners, the EA SIG is interested in developing, organizing, and disseminating theory and knowledge that will improve the delivery of psychological services to young adults needing support as they negotiate diverse pathways to early adulthood.



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Emerging Adulthood SIG Executive Committee Members



Division Board Liaison
Mary Fristad, Ph.D.
Nationwide Childrens

Membership Member-at-Large

Communication Member-at Large

Research Member-at-Large

Trainee Member-at-Large