Early Adult Transitions and Their Relation to Well-Being and Substance Use

John Schulenberg, Patrick M. O̓malley, Jerald G. BachMan and Lloyd D. Johnston

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:
Early Adult Transitions and Their Relation to Well-Being and Substance Use

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Evidence shows that well-being increases during the period between late adolescence and early adulthood, but questions remain about how widespread this increase may be and why it occurs and, more generally, how the course of well-being relates to the various diverse pathways out of high school. Substance use also tends to increase during this period, reaching its lifetime peak during the early twenties, depending on the given cohort and substance. Well-being and substance use, while not necessarily sharing a common etiology or developmental course across the life span, may increase among young adults during transition in part because of the new roles and contexts that provide more freedom and selection of opportunities. Using data from four waves of nationally representative U.S. panel data spanning ages eighteen to twenty-four, this chapter investigates early adult transitions and their relation to well-being and substance use. It analyzes the timing, sequencing, and covariation of social role transitions related to school and work, romantic involvement (specifically marriage), parenthood, and independence in the form of leaving the parental home.

Keywords: well-being; substance use; adolescence; early adulthood; adult transitions; marriage; parenthood; independence; young adults

Chapter.  9568 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology

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