Scott PR. Quase adulta, quase velha: por que antecipar as fases do ciclo vital? [Quasi adult, quasi old: why anticipate life cycle phases?] Interface –Comunicação, Saúde, Educação [Interface - Communication, Health, Education] 2001 February; 5(8):61-72.

Objectives: Analyze the anticipation of life cycle phases within two generational groups in Brazil : adolescents who become pregnant and young adult women who join groups composed of older people.

Methodology: Analytical and interpretive. Bibliographic review.

Results: The author identifies the anticipation of life cycle phases from observing different generations. A number of young women become pregnant, get married or do not get married, and become mothers. Many women in the range of 45 to 50 years of age join “groups of older people.”

T he results show that young women who become pregnant and “young” members of groups of the aged pass through in life cycle phases marked by a stage in which identity is measured more by negation than affirmation. A young woman who becomes pregnant leaves a phase marked by strong dependency on her parents. By having a child, she gains visibility; others no longer recognize her as a child. Once she is pregnant, the state offers her various programs. The young woman affirms her individuality and autonomy vis-à-vis her parents and moves on to play a role as an adult.

Young women join a group of older people because - in their identity as mothers, workers, or housewives - they fail to make a sufficient adaptation to a new phase of their lives. On the contrary, the young adult woman who has passed through all the personal experiences of adult life (children, work, marriage, grandchildren) and who moves quickly to identify herself with a group of older people extends her opportunities for friendship, redefinition of roles, participation in state programs, leisure activities, respect accorded the person with experience, and relative freedom from obligations.

Conclusions: The circumstances of contemporary Brazilian society favor anticipation of the passage through life cycle phases. If the trends under study persist, this phenomenon will become stronger, since it is a process that enables its protagonists to recast the course of their lives.

Copyright 2007 University of New Mexico