Developmental Family and Cultural Pathways to Young Adulthood

Project: Research project

Description

Forming satisfying intimate relationships and establishing oneself in the world of work are key tasks of young adulthood. This study builds on two studies, one beginning in middle childhood and one beginning in adolescence, to: (a) investigate how young adults family relationship histories are linked to their experiences and choices vis a vis romantic relationships and education/work; (b) examine a range of early family socialization influences including mothers, fathers, and siblings roles as relationship partners, opportunity providers and instructors, and dynamics in parents marital relationships; and (c) using an ethnic homogeneous design, illuminate family dynamics that give rise to variations in the intimate relationship and education/work experiences of young adults within two cultural groups: European American and Mexican American families. The Penn State Family Relationships Project has followed approximately 200, twoparent, working and middle class, European American families for about 10 years, since firstborn siblings were about 10, and secondborns, about 8 years of age. The Juntos Project has studied 246, two-parent, working and middle class, Mexican American families when older siblings averaged 15, and younger siblings averaged about 12 years of age. The proposed study involves the collection of two additional waves of data over a four year period from mothers, fathers, and siblings, as well as from siblings romantic partners, when most siblings are in their early 20s. Data collection (from almost 1800 individuals) will focus on young adults general orientations toward romantic relationships as well as their own romantic relationship experiences, their education and work experiences (e.g., pressure, support, discrimination), their attitudes about work and family roles, and their psycho-social adjustment. Analyses will be directed at identifying links between early family experiences and young adult development. In so doing, we will test whether family warmth and family stressors, including socio-cultural stressors, moderate the links between early family socialization influences and young adult development. We also will study how individuals personal characteristics, measured across childhood and adolescence, give rise to later family socialization experiences, and, in turn, young adult development. Together, our analyses are aimed at illuminating how families work as socialization systems in two distinct cultural settings.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date3/1/108/31/16

Funding

  • HHS: National Institutes of Health (NIH): $450,252.00

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adulthood
young adult
family socialization
experience
working class
adolescence
middle class
father
parents
childhood
partner relationship
working-day world
social adjustment
education
reproductive behavior
family work
socialization
instructor
discrimination
history