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Alternative Title

Emerging adulthood for women in an American Orthodox Jewish context

Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School for Social Work


Emerging adulthood, Orthodox, Jewish, Women, Adulthood, Development


This qualitative study conducts a thematic analysis of 12 in-depth individual interviews with unmarried American Orthodox Jewish women who are currently within the emerging adulthood stage of life (18–22) as it has been defined by current research. The research aims to determine the ways by which the process of emerging adulthood for American Orthodox Jewish women is similar to or different from established empirical and theoretical developmental models. The results give voice to their experiences and confirm that psychologist Jeffrey Arnett’s five emerging adulthood characteristics are relevant in the lives of these participants. Additionally, the study identified four elements of emerging adulthood unique to the experience of these Orthodox Jewish women expanding our understanding of the process of emerging adulthood. Additionally, recommendations for individuals, practice, research, and community are outlined.


©2021 Shira Kessler. Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.




vi, 173 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 143-153)