Can We Talk? An Exploratory Examination of Communication Patterns Between Emerging Adults and their Parents

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Given emerging adulthood is a period of increased independence, it is unclear how much contact emerging adults have with their parents, how this communication occurs, and how frequency of communication differs across sociodemographic characteristics. The main aim of this study was to examine communication patterns and modalities between emerging adults and their parents. Data are from an 8-year longitudinal, population-based study of socio-economically and racially/ethnically diverse adolescents followed into emerging adulthood (n = 1539; mean age = 22.1; 53.1% female). Latent profile analysis results supported a 5-class model, in which classes were characterized by patterns of frequency of communication with parents across different modalities. The most common communication modality included medium levels of engagement (i.e., few times/week), with both parents, and was in-person or via the phone (i.e., calls, text messages, email). Results differed by race/ethnicity. Findings from this exploratory study may be useful for supporting positive communication patterns between emerging adults and their parents and may inform what intervention delivery format (e.g., phone, social media-based, in-person) may be more effective for certain parent/emerging adult subgroups engaging in family-based interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1571-1582
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Communication
  • Emerging adult
  • Parents
  • Social media


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