Does College Matter for Emerging Adulthood? Comparing Developmental Trajectories of Educational Groups

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12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2012-2027
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Volume44
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

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adulthood
Students
North American Indians
Love
Marriage
Spouses
Hispanic Americans
Group
Age Groups
Parents
spouse
love
critic
parents
Growth
marriage
student
Research
income

Keywords

  • Educational groups
  • Emerging adulthood
  • Non-students
  • Transition to adulthood

Cite this

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title = "Does College Matter for Emerging Adulthood? Comparing Developmental Trajectories of Educational Groups",
abstract = "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.",
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N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

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KW - Non-students

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