Critics of emerging adulthood theory have suggested that it only applies to college students, but this assertion has largely gone untested. The purpose of the present study was to compare developmental trajectories of non-students versus college-educated youth in theoretically relevant domains of work, love, and financial independence. Using data from the Youth Development Study (N = 1139, 49.6 % female, 63.3 % White, 10.9 % Southeast Asian, 1.5 % Other Asian, 8.6 % Black, 5.3 % Mixed Race, 4.0 % Latino, 0.8 % Native American), latent growth curve models were fitted to chart each group’s development, from ages 14 to 30. Different trajectories were revealed for hours worked, children, and financial dependence on parents, spouses, and government aid. No differences were found in employment rates, marriage rates, or financial dependence on own income. These results provide a clearer picture of emerging adulthood for non-students, and highlight problems with generalizing college student research to all emerging adults.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The Youth Development Study was supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD044138) and by the National Institute of Mental Health (MH42843), both awarded to Jeylan T. Mortimer, Principal Investigator. The authors thank Dr. Mortimer for making the data publicly available through the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development or the National Institutes of Health.
© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.
- Educational groups
- Emerging adulthood
- Transition to adulthood