Extended Adolescence Symposium

Purchase the audio and/or ebook from the Extended Adolescence Symposium here.


Immerse Journal InterVarsity Press Sparkhouse Youth Culture Update


Adolescence in America is now considered an almost-20 year journey, lasting well into or through the 20s. That shift–in a shockingly short amount of time–has massive implications for anyone working with teenagers or young adults. Problem is: we’re still trying to figure out what those implications might be.

There are plenty of books and articles these days describing extended adolescence and emerging adulthood. but there’s been very little written addressing the question: so what? Is a 20 year adolescence a good thing or a bad thing? Are there ways our youth ministry can prepare teenagers for adulthood in a way that fast tracks them? Should we just roll over and create new ‘emerging adult’ groups, really just a slightly older youth group?

Join The Youth Cartel for a unique day of dialog, debate, and discovery. We are bringing together two experts with vastly different opinions on the nature & problems of extended adolescence, as well as a moderation/interpreter who knows youth ministry, to help us wrestle with how to best understand today’s teenagers and young adults, and how we can help move toward adulthood, rather than being perpetually stucks in their teens.


Kara Powell
Dr. Jeffrey Jensen Arnett received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, and did three years of postdoctoral work at the University of Chicago. From 1992-1998 he was Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Missouri. He has been a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University and the University of Maryland.Dr. Arnett’s primary scholarly interest is in “emerging adulthood,” the age period from the late teens to the mid-twenties (mainly ages 18-25). For over a decade he has conducted research on emerging adults concerning a wide variety of topics, involving several different ethnic groups in the United States. He also studied emerging adults in Denmark as a Fulbright Scholar in 2005.Dr. Arnett is the author of Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road from the Late Teens Through the Twenties, published in 2004 by Oxford University Press. He has also edited a book on emerging adulthood (with Jennifer Tanner), Emerging Adults in America: Coming of Age in the 21st Century (2006, APA Books). Dr. Robert Epstein is an author, editor, and longtime psychology researcher and professor—a distinguished scientist who is passionate about educating the public about advances in mental health and the behavioral sciences. The former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today, Dr. Epstein is currently a contributing editor for Scientific American Mind and an occasional lecturer at the Rady School of Management at the University of California San Diego. He is also the founder and Director Emeritus of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies in Massachusetts.Through 2003, he served as University Research Professor at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. He received his Ph.D. in psychology in 1981 from Harvard University.Epstein’s 15 books include Teen 2.0: Saving Our Children and Families from the Torment of Adolescence, and the forthcoming Finding the Inner Adult in Your Teen: A Guide for Parents. Dr. Kara E. Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary. She completed her Ph.D. in Practical Theology from Fuller Seminary with a focus on Pastoral Role Expectations in 2000, an M.Div. from Bethel Theological Seminary in 1994, and a BA degree with Honors from Stanford University in 1991. In addition to her roles at Fuller Seminary, Kara currently volunteers in student ministries at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena. She is the author or co-author of a number of books and curriculum guides, including Sticky Faith (2011), Essential Leadership (2010), Deep Justice Journeys (2009), Deep Justice in a Broken World(2008), Deep Ministry in a Shallow World (2006), and many more.

More Information

Tentative Schedule for the Day

·      8:00 – Welcome, opening comments from Kara Powell

·      8:45 – 9:30 – Presentation by Robert Epstein

·      9:30 – 10:00 – Q&A with Robert Epstein

·      10:45 – 11:30 – Presentation by Jeffrey Arnett

·      11:30 – 11:45 – Q&A with Jeffrey Arnett

·      11:45 – 1:15 — Lunch break (on your own)

·      1:15 – 2:45 – Moderated debate/panel/dialogue, hosted by Kara Powell, with Epstein & Arnett

·      2:45 — 3:30 – Closing comments and contextualization, with audience dialogue, hosted by Kara Powell

·      3:30 — End

Location / Venue information

Atlanta Marriott Marquis
265 Peachtree Center Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30303