The Youth Development Study (YDS) has enhanced understanding of pathways through adolescence and the transition to adulthood, and the consequences of these pathways for mental health, behavioral adjustment and attainment. A community-based panel of youth has been surveyed near annually from the ages of 14-15 to 31- 32, with particularly extensive coverage of the objective careers of work and family and the subjective dynamics of self, identity, and mental health. Seventy-five percent of the original panel has been retained through the most recent waves of data collection. The rich YDS data archive provides unique leverage to accomplish two specific aims.
The first aim i s to examine the impacts of experiences during adolescence and pathways through the transition to adulthood for mental health and adjustment during a period of consolidation of adult roles (age 33-38). Five pathways to adulthood have been identified, defined by changing configurations of social roles (e.g., student, worker, spouse, and parent). These pathways vary in their adherence to normative patterns of timing and sequencing. It is hypothesized that pathways to adulthood, and related transitional experiences, influence adults'psychological well-being and behavioral adjustment in important domains of life, including work and attainment, family and interpersonal relationships, deviance and civic engagement, subjective well-being, and identity.
The second aim i s to understand how parental pathways through adolescence and the transition to adulthood coincide with their children's attitudes and behaviors with respect to work and achievement, family and social relationships, civic engagement, and deviance. The extensive biographical information on YDS adults presents a strategic opportunity to compare the adult and child generations at roughly the same age. Extending the YDS to include the children of the original cohort enables study of patterns of family support across three generations, which will extend knowledge of contextual influences on family functioning and child well-being. We propose to conduct two mail surveys of YDS adult respondents in 2009 and 2011 and three mail surveys of 744 YDS children (age 11-20) in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Central to the achievement of both specific aims is the analysis of previously and newly collected data using latent class modeling and other statistical techniques. 7. Project Narrative This research will identify pathways of social roles and experiences during the transition to adulthood that influence children's capacities to become healthy and productive adults by their mid-to-late 30's. Multifaceted indicators of healthy development include work and attainment, family and social relationships, civic engagement and deviance, subjective well-being and identity. Extending the Youth Development Study to include longitudinal study of the children of YDS respondents will significantly extend understanding of intergenerational continuity, family functioning, and child well-being.
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