Advertisement

Child & Youth Care Forum

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 197–208 | Cite as

What Does it Mean to be an Adult? Perceptions of Young Men in Residential Care

  • Ivan Raymond
  • Karen Heseltine
Original Paper

Abstract

It is widely accepted that young people residing in residential care transition to independence and adult responsibilities earlier than peers living within their family of origin. There has been a lack of literature examining the way young people in care construct this transition. In response, in-depth qualitative interviews, guided by grounded theory, were conducted with nine young men (M = 15.9 years) residing in an Australian residential care program. The construction of adult identity was aged dependent, and represented by the attainment of self- and other-responsibility and behavioural maturity. Rites or role transitions signifying adult identity were also explored. Program and policy implications are tabled.

Keywords

Residential care Identity development Construction of adulthood Rites 

References

  1. Arnett, J. J. (1998). Learning to stand alone: The contemporary American transition to adulthood in cultural and historical context. Human Development, 41, 295–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood. A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55, 469–480.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arnett, J. J. (2001). Conceptions of the transition to adulthood: Perspectives from adolescence through midlife. Journal of Adult Development, 8, 133–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Arnett, J. J. (2002). The psychology of globalization. American Psychologist, 57, 774–783.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Arnett, J. J. (2007). Suffering, selfish, slackers? Myths and reality about emerging adults. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 36, 23–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cashmore, J., & Paxman, M. (2006). Wards leaving care: Follow up five years on. Children Australia, 31(3), 18–25.Google Scholar
  7. Clare, M. (2006). Personal reflections on needs and services for young people leaving care: From local to international to national (1996–2005). Children Australia, 31(3), 11–17.Google Scholar
  8. Cohen, P., Kasen, S., Chen, H., Hartmark, C., & Gordon, K. (2003). Variations in patterns of developmental transmissions in the emerging adulthood period. Developmental Psychology, 39, 657–669.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Daining, C., & DePanfilis, D. (2007). Resilience of youth in transition from out-of-home care to adulthood. Children and Youth Services Review, 29, 1158–1178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Davies, D. (1994). Christianity. In J. Holm & J. Bowker (Eds.), Rites of passage (pp. 41–65). London: Pinter.Google Scholar
  11. Dawes, G. (2002). Figure eights, spin outs and power slides: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth and the culture of joyriding. Journal of Youth Studies, 5, 195–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Delfabbro, P. H., Barber, J. G., & Bentham, Y. (2002). Children’s satisfaction with out-of-home care in South Australia. Journal of Adolescence, 25, 523–533.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Elson, S. E. (1996). Children’s residential treatment: Last resort or treatment of choice? Residential Treatment for Children and Youth, 14(2), 33–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Erikson, E. H. (1968). Identity: Youth and crisis. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  15. Fasick, F. A. (1988). Patterns of formal education in high school as rites de passage. Adolescence, 90, 457–468.Google Scholar
  16. Gavazzi, S. M., Alford, K. A., & McKenry, P. C. (1996). Culturally specific programs for foster care youth: The sample case of an African American rites of passage program. Family Relations, 45, 166–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  18. Hughes, D. (2004). An attachment-based treatment of maltreated children and young people. Attachment and Human Development, 6, 263–278.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Iglehart, A. P. (1994). Adolescents in foster care: Predicting readiness for independent living. Children and Youth Services Review, 16, 159–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Johansson, J., & Andersson, B. (2006). Living in residential care: Experiences in a treatment home for adolescents in Sweden. Child and Youth Care Forum, 35, 305–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kenyon, D., Rankin, L., Koerner, S., & Dennison, R. E. (2007). What makes an adult? Examining descriptions from adolescents of divorce. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 36, 813–823.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mahdi, L. C., Christopher, N. G., & Meade, M. (1998). Crossroads: The quest for contemporary rites of passage. Peru: Open Court.Google Scholar
  23. Marcia, J. E. (1966). Development and validation of ego-identity status. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 3, 551–558.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McDermott, V. A. (1987). Life planning services: Helping older placed children with their identity. Child and Adolescent Social Work, 4, 97–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Molgat, M. (2007). Do transitions and social structures matter? How ‘emerging adults’ define themselves as adults. Journal of Youth Studies, 10, 495–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Montgomery, P., Donkoh, C., & Underhill, K. (2006). Independent living programs for young people leaving the care system: The state of the evidence. Children and Youth Services Review, 28, 1435–1448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Moses, T. (2000). Attachment theory and residential treatment: A study of staff-client relationships. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 70, 474–490.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Moshman, D. (2005). Adolescent psychological development: Rationality, morality, and identity (2nd edn.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  29. Moslehuddin, B., & Mendes, P. (2006). Young people’s journey to independence: Towards a better future for young people leaving state care in Victoria. Children Australia, 31(3), 47–54.Google Scholar
  30. Nickerson, A. B., Colby, S. A., Brooks, J. L., Rickert, J. M., & Salamone, F. J. (2007). Transitioning youth from residential treatment to the community: A preliminary investigation. Child Youth Care Forum, 36, 73–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Northcote, J. (2006). Nightclubbing and the search for identity: Making the transition from childhood to adulthood in an urban milieu. Journal of Youth Studies, 9, 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nurmi, J. E. (1991). How do adolescents see their future? A review of the development of future orientation and planning. Developmental Review, 11, 1–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ogilvie, E. (1996). Masculine obsessions. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 29, 206–221.Google Scholar
  34. Sawyer, M. G., Carbone, J. A., Searle, A. K., & Robinson, P. (2007). The mental health and well-being of children and adolescents in home-based foster care. Medical Journal of Australia, 186, 181–184.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Scott, D. G. (1998). Rites of passage in adolescent development: A reappreciation. Child and Youth Care Forum, 27, 317–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Seginer, R. (1992). Future orientation: Age-related differences among adolescent females. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 21, 421–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Seginer, R., & Halabi-Kheir, H. (1998). Adolescent passage to adulthood: Future orientation in the context of culture, age, and gender. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 22, 309–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Stevens, J. W. (1994). Adolescent development and adolescent pregnancy among late age African-American female adolescents. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 11, 433–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tacey, D. J. (1995). The rites and wrongs of passage. Psychotherapy in Australia, 1(4), 3–12.Google Scholar
  40. Van Gennep, A. (1909–1960). The rites of passage. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  41. Yancey, A. K. (1992). Identity formation and social maladaptation in foster adolescents. Adolescence, 27, 819–831.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

Personalised recommendations