Recent research by Amanda Sacker shows that earlier transition to adult roles is associated with an increased risk of psychological distress but so is failing to make some key transitions.
Professor Sacker examined the role of structural constraints and adolescent resources in the relationship between the timing of transitions and psychological distress in early adult life in the 1958 National Child Development Study and the 1970 British Cohort Study. The research team also looked at the influences on timing of four key transitions and their relationship with psychological distress.
Later transitions to adult roles and responsibilities have traditionally been linked with better psychological wellbeing
yet psychological distress has risen despite young people making the transition to adulthood at older ages over
The research Transitions to adulthood and psychological distress in young adults born 12 years apart: constraints on and resources for development found that an earlier transition to adult roles was associated with an increased risk for psychological distress but so was failing to make some key transitions. Structural constraints had negative effects on successful development. Persistent social class and gender inequalities in psychological distress were evident in both cohorts. Social class constraints were mediated by educational resources whereas gender constraints were mediated by psychosocial resources. The influence of structural constraints on the timing of transitions to adult roles was more complex with evidence of positive and negative mediation and moderation effects.
The research has been published in Psychological Medicine and concludes:
“Delaying transition to adulthood promotes psychological health but failure of transition to independent living is associated with psychological distress. Life-course transitions are constrained by social origin and gender and possibly [macro] economic environment. Adolescent resources help young adults to make timely transitions to adult roles”.
- <%= media_link(‘Transitions to adulthood and psychological distress in young adults born 12 years apart: constraints on and resources for development’, 331) %>