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The quarterlife crisis is a period of life following the major changes of adolescence, usually ranging from the late teens to the early thirties, in which a person begins to feel doubtful about their own lives, brought on by the stress of becoming an adult. The term was coined by analogy with mid-life crisis.
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The quarter-life crisis occurs shortly after a young person enters the "real world". Erik H. Erikson, who proposed eight crises that humans face during their development, proposed the existence of a life crisis occurring at this age. The conflict he associated with young adulthood is the Intimacy vs. Isolation crisis. According to him, after establishing a personal identity in adolescence, young adults seek to form intense, usually romantic relationships with other people.
People experiencing a quarter life crisis often feel "lost, scared, lonely or confused" about what steps to take in order to transition properly into adulthood. Studies have shown that unemployment and the idea of not being able to find a job is a major cause for young people to undergo stress or anxiety. Early stages of a person living on their own for the first time and learning to cope without parental help can also induce feelings of isolation and loneliness.
In film 
The notion of the quarter-life crisis is explored by the 1967 film The Graduate, one of the first film depictions of this issue. Other notable films that also do so are How to Be, Garden State, High Fidelity, (500) Days of Summer, Lost in Translation, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, as well as the musical Avenue Q and the HBO television series, Girls. The 2008 web series Quarterlife was so named for the phenomenon. Other movies exploring the quarter-life crisis include, Reality Bites, Tiny Furniture, Stranger than Fiction,and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Further reading 
- Barr, Damian. Get It Together: A Guide to Surviving Your Quarterlife Crisis. Hodder & Stoughton Paperbacks, 2004. ISBN 0-340-82903-6
- Hassler, Christine. "20-Something, 20-Everything: A Quarter-life Woman's Guide to Balance and Direction." New World Library, 2005. ISBN 978-1-57731-476-9.
- Hassler, Christine. "20-Something Manifesto: Quarter-Lifers Speak Out About Who They Are, What They Want, and How to Get It" New World Library, 2008. ISBN 978-1-57731-595-7.
- Pollak, Lindsey. "Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World." Collins Business, 2007. ISBN 0-06-114259-X
- Robbins, Alexandra. "Conquering Your Quarterlife Crisis: Advice From Twentysomethings Who Have Been There and Survived." Perigee, 2004. ISBN 978-0-399-53038-8
- Robbins, Alexandra; Wilner, Abby. Quarterlife Crisis: The Unique Challenges of Life in Your Twenties. Tarcher, 2001. ISBN 1-58542-106-5
- Wilner, Abby; Stocker, Catherine. "Quarterlifer's Companion: How to Get on the Right Career Path, Control Your Finances, and Find the Support Network You Need to Thrive." McGraw-Hill, 2004. ISBN 978-0-07-145015-7
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