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Three Helpful Epstein Tests

i’ve mentioned dr. robert epstein‘s book, teen 2.0 on this blog a few times. it continues to shape my thinking (and, i can tell, the thinking of those in the one of my youth ministry coaching program cohorts that read the book).

i’d been aware of a couple of dr. epstein’s simple, online diagnostic tests. but i finally looked at them in more detail the other day, after he emailed me to tell me about his newest online test.

first, the ones i’d already been aware of:

how adult are you?
this test is based on the competencies of adulthood that epstein developed in conjunction with writing teen 2.0 (and it’s earlier version, the case against adolescence). not only is it interesting to take (i was VERY relieved to score 96%, btw!), the results show the categories that epstein describes as the primary competencies of adulthood.

and, there are a couple things worth mentioning here:
first, epstein found that, when he administered this test to a sizeable group of mid- and older teens, as well as a sizeable group of adults, there was no statistically significant difference between the groups. what that reveals, or at least suggests, is that older teenagers (say, 16 – 20 year-olds) have the capacity for living as adults. capacity is an important word there — because, as the book unpacks, and all of us youth workers are observing, teenagers and young adults are postponing adulthood longer and longer.

how infantalized are you?
this second test measures teen and young adult infantilization, or, to what extent they are treated as children, rather than aspiring adults. it didn’t make sense to take this one myself; but i’d be very interested to have a group of high schoolers (and even moreso, young adults) from my church take the test.

epstein’s newest online tool is based on what he’s now considering a “disorder” (of sorts):
extended childhood disorder
this would be interesting to use with young adults who seem stuck in extended adolescence, and would be good to use as a 3rd set part along with the other two.

all very useful, i think, for our youth ministry contexts.

btw: ys booked epstein to speak in a ‘big room’ at next fall’s national youth workers convention in san diego. should be very interesting!

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moestreicher@churchleaders.com'
Mark Oestreicher is a 30-year veteran of youth ministry, and the former President of Youth Specialties. Marko has written or contributed to more than 50 books, including the much-talked-about Youth Ministry 3.0. Marko is a speaker, author, consultant, and leads the Youth Ministry Coaching Program.