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Life transitions can be understood as points of change resulting in the beginning of a new life phase and/or the ending of a previous phase of life. Some of these changes seem to occur universally, while others occur in specific situations. Transitions can be normative, meaning that they are experienced by all or virtually all individuals, or they can be nonnormative or distinct, suggesting that changes are unique to a specific individual, population, or culture. Traditionally, transitions were identified and understood to occur based upon developmental theories that described how individuals change between childhood and adulthood. However, later research has suggested that transitions occur into adulthood and can be identified throughout the entire life span. These transitions affect individuals, couples, and families. This entry will ...

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