Six Paths to Adulthood

D. Wayne Osgood, Gretchen Ruth, Jacquelynne S. Eccles, Janis E. Jacobs and Bonnie L. Barber

in On the Frontier of Adulthood

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2005 | ISBN: 9780226748894
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226748924 | DOI:
Six Paths to Adulthood

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The transition to adulthood is most obviously characterized by movement from the roles of childhood and adolescence to those of adulthood. Youth leave their parents' homes to live on their own, they marry or cohabit with romantic partners, and they become parents themselves. They finish their schooling and take full-time employment. Completing most, if not all, of these role transitions is often considered to be the standard for reaching adulthood. However, this set of changes does not come as an organized “package” or standard sequence. Rather, young people today take many varied paths through these transitions. This chapter explores several role transitions by classifying respondents into groups on the basis of simple facts about adult transitions in five major role domains: romantic relationships, residence, parenthood, employment, and education. It examines patterns of time use, the degree to which respondents feel that they are carrying out various adult responsibilities, demographic characteristics of the individuals and their families of origin, and attitudes toward marriage and family, employment, and education.

Keywords: adulthood; adult transitions; young people; romantic relationships; residence; parenthood; employment; education; time use; marriage

Chapter.  13223 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology

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