TickTock! The pendulum swings from adolescence to adulthood: An exploratory analysis of quarter-life crisis contents on TikTok

Yeler Z., Berber K.

European Conference on Developmental Psychology (ECDP), Turku, Finland, 28 August - 01 September 2023, pp.291-292

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Turku
  • Country: Finland
  • Page Numbers: pp.291-292
  • TED University Affiliated: Yes


Quarter-life crisis (QLC) is a phenomenon that first emerged from mass media and popular culture, and since then investigated through several academic studies. It occurs approximately between 20-35 ages and refers to the challenges of achieving steady “adult” roles or fitting in current life roles (Robinson, 2016; Robinson, 2019). Early adults may experience intense negative feelings and question their identity during quarter-life crisis (Robinson et al., 2013). TikTok is an application widely used by teenagers and twentysomethings. It is not necessarily based on following familiar people and building a social network. Thus, they might express themselves and their experiences more freely on the app than by speaking to a researcher or a mental health professional. Twentysomethings may have trouble receiving professional help about their quarter-life crisis due to their financial status (Robbins & Wilner, 2001). TikTok may provide a platform for them to share their experiences and support each other. The purpose of the study is to analyze the content of the hashtag #quarterlifecrisis on TikTok. The study’s design includes manifest content analysis. The videos with the hashtag #quarterlifecrisis were gathered by utilizing TikTok's discover feature and the hashtag search of #quarterlifecrisis. A sample of the top 100 most-viewed videos were analyzed. The hashtag had 380.7 million cumulative views until August 2023. Only English-language videos are included in this sample. The researchers transcribed all the videos, and recorded the engagement data such as the number of views, comments, shares, and likes. Videos included in the sample #quarterlifecrisis were transcribed, analyzed, and coded. After categories and themes were determined, 13 themes and 30 categories were listed.