The answer to this question may seem obvious, but being over the age of 18 is not the only qualification. What else makes you an adult? To find out, tick only one answer in this special quiz devised by Dr Eia Asen

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The Independent Culture
When you are being referred to as an adult, do you feel:

1 insulted

2 misunderstood

3 a bit uncomfortable

4 flattered

5 extremely pleased

Which of the following do you primarily associate with adulthood:

1 legal

2 social

3 physical

4 intellectual

5 emotional

Which of the following means you have achieved adult status:

1 taking out a life insurance policy

2 having a mortgage

3 buying a slow and safe car

4 worrying intensely about your children's schooling

5 limiting the use of credit cards

What do you regard as the greatest

disadvantage of adulthood:

1 having to think about other people first

2 having to make important decisions

3 being legally responsible for your actions

4 having to behave as if you were grown-up

5 not being able to do exactly as you like

Do you think of work as

1 a necessary evil

2 an overrated activity suitable for others but not yourself

3 a way of passing time prior to retirement

4 the major way of proving your worth

5 your life

Do you think it's important to have daydreams

1 no, because it's unproductive

2 yes, once a week about winning the lottery or such like

3 yes, but mainly about sex

4 yes, because it's an escape from dreary, everyday reality

5 yes, because it can be very creative

Do you think your own judgements

1 are always correct

2 are more often right than wrong

3 should be adopted by those near and dear

4 are mostly irrelevant

5 are only valid once every other person's view has been taken into account

Do you regard having secrets as being

1 essential to your privacy - the more the better

2 a useful way of conducting relationships

3 the one thing that really keeps your partner interested in you

4 occasionally important but usually unnecessary

5 a serious obstacle to trust and intimacy

Do you think that the concept of second childhood is

1 a typical invention of psychologists

2 an excuse for being as irresponsible as possible once you've reached middle age

3 a second chance for those who missed out first time round

4 a good recipe for being playful and silly at times

5 a prescription for happiness, to be taken at least three times daily

When should adults think about death?

1 never; it's too depressing and shortens your life expectancy

2 only when actually confronted with it

3 from time to time to draw up or modify wills

4 weekly, to plan the future

5 once a day to see things in perspective

Do you cope with disappointments by

1 washing then down with alcohol

2 getting appropriately irritable and low

3 gritting your teeth and trying harder next time

4 confiding in a trusted person

5 ignoring them and thinking positively

Should adults be playful or even silly?

1 never, not even in emergency situations

2 only when nobody is looking

3 occasionally, to prove the point that you're still young

4 only with family and very close friends

5 whenever possible and even in public

Do you handle betrayal by

1 driving your car at maximum speed down the motorway

2 totally ignoring it

3 weeping uncontrollably

4 putting it down to human nature and crossing your fingers for better luck next time

5 confronting the issue even if it's unpleasant

Do you handle conflict by

1 burying your head in the sand

2 shouting and screaming

3 always being utterly reasonable

4 waiting for the right time and place to discuss the issues

5 dealing with it then and there

Should adults still idealise people such as

1 a politician in power

2 their parent(s)

3 a film star

4 their partner

5 none of the above

Can you forgive your parents for what they did wrong?

1 never

2 only if they apologise formally

3 if they acknowledge their mistakes

4 if we can discuss it as a family

5 yes, as long as I don't have to forget it all.

If you have a sexual problem, should you

1 keep quiet about it

2 share the problem with your mother

3 only tell your therapist

4 involve your partner

5 be extremely "mature" and tell the whole world

In your opinion, do adults have the right to lose self-control and

1 hit another person

2 hurt themselves

3 kick the door

4 yell at the top of their voice

5 do a silly dance in public

Do you think empathy is

1 an outdated Greek myth

2 an unpleasant feeling driven by guilt

3 a quality only therapists should possess

4 a way of recognising emotions in others and responding appropriately

5 a healthy attitude feeding altruism

Is self-awareness a necessary ingredient of adulthood because

1 it guarantees that you look wonderful at all times

2 it helps you fit in with others

3 it prevents you from being criticised unnecessarily

4 it helps you to monitor your feelings

5 it assists you in distinguishing between your own feelings and those of others

In order to determine whether you are an adult or not, would you

1 rather not have a scoring system at all

2 have a scoring system but not know the conclusion

3 like there to be an objective scale, devised by an expert

4 like to make up your own mind by creating your own scoring system for each of the answers

5 create your own questions and not bother about a scoring system at all

Now add up the points and see how you score

Less than 25 pts: you are a worryingly irresponsible adult

More than 90 pts: you are a worryingly respectable adult

26-28 points: you are a surprisingly average adult.

Note: If you are a real adult, you can cope with these findings - whatever they are.

Dr Eia Asen is a practising psychoanalyst working in the National Health Service.

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