Researchers from the University of Maryland, the National Council of Applied Economic Research and AMS Consulting together with an interdisciplinary team of collaborators propose to field a youth supplement to the India Human Development Survey (IHDS-Y) focusing on a nationally representative sample of about 17,000 adolescents aged 14-18 across India. These households were first surveyed in 2004-2005. We have therefore a rich background of data on their schooling, human capital, family backgrounds, and local contexts. The substantive innovation of this research comes from a focus on adolescent life transitions during which families and communities must balance two competing and sometimes conflicting demands: providing adolescents with sufficient personal skills to cope with potentially risky situations while at the same time minimizing the likelihood that they are exposed to these risks. Specifically, the project will address the following questions: 1. How has the traditional, closely monitored, Indian transition to adulthood helped protect adolescents and young adults from risky behaviors? 2. How is the transition to adulthood changing in response to structural changes in Indian society - in particular to increases in wage labor, migration, secondary schooling, later ages at marriage, a growing middle class, and greater exposure to global culture? 3. How are the personal characteristics of the individuals - their human capital, social and emotional skills, and cultural capital - linked to behaviors which enhance protection from risky behavior? 4. How do families balance the competing demands of allowing adolescents enough independence to nurture these personal characteristics without exposing them to situations in which risky behavior (for both social and health risks) are more likely? The cultural, social and economic diversity of India provides a unique laboratory within which these issues can be studied. Gender and kinship patterns vary tremendously across India with consequent differences in the transitions to adulthood. India's dramatic economic growth is also regionally concentrated so the demands of new economic roles are not felt equally across the country. Locating personal development - education, self efficacy, gender role ideologies, communication ease, and other life skills - within this diversity allows us to trace the relationships from institutional contexts through personal characteristics to individual outcomes.

Public Health Relevance

Relevenace: In a rapidly globalizing world, parents and societies face two competing and sometimes conflicting demands: providing adolescents with sufficient personal skills to cope with potentially risky situations while at the same time minimizing the likelihood that they are exposed to these risks. This project will focus on determinants of youth risky behavior in India.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1-DSR-W (17))
Program Officer
Newcomer, Susan
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University of Maryland College Park
Social Sciences
Schools of Arts and Sciences
College Park
United States
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Vikram, Kriti; Chen, Feinian; Desai, Sonalde (2018) Mothers' work patterns and Children's cognitive achievement: Evidence from the India Human Development survey. Soc Sci Res 72:207-224
Myroniuk, Tyler W; Vanneman, Reeve; Desai, Sonalde (2017) Getting a Child Through Secondary School and To College in India: The Role of Household Social Capital. Sociol Dev (Oakl) 3:24-46
Thorat, Amit; Vanneman, Reeve; Desai, Sonalde et al. (2017) Escaping and Falling into Poverty in India Today. World Dev 93:413-426
Basu, Alaka M; Desai, Sonalde (2016) Hopes, Dreams and Anxieties: India's One-Child Families. Asian Popul Stud 12:4-27
Barik, Debasis; Agrawal, Tushar; Desai, Sonalde (2015) After the Dividend: Caring for a Greying India. Econ Polit Wkly 50:108-112
Desai, Sonalde; Temsah, Gheda (2014) Muslim and Hindu Women's public and private behaviors: gender, family, and communalized politics in India. Demography 51:2307-32
Desai, Sonalde; Dubey, Amaresh (2012) Caste in 21st Century India: Competing Narratives. Econ Polit Wkly 46:40-49
Vikram, Kriti; Vanneman, Reeve; Desai, Sonalde (2012) Linkages between maternal education and childhood immunization in India. Soc Sci Med 75:331-9
Desai, Sonalde; Andrist, Lester (2010) Gender scripts and age at marriage in India. Demography 47:667-87