Advertisement

International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 265–274 | Cite as

Does timing and sequencing of transitions to adulthood make a difference? stress, smoking, and physical activity among young australian women

  • Sandra Bell
  • Christina Lee
Article

Abstract

The major changes of the transition to adulthood are argued to be stressful, and health-related behaviors such as smoking and physical activity may be adopted, consolidated, or abandoned at this time. On the other hand, research has suggested that the normative transitions of emerging adulthood, although involving considerable change, may be associated with low stress because they are perceived as both positive and normal at this life stage. This article examines relations between the timing and sequencing of life transitions and stress and health-related behaviors, focusing on the transition to young adulthood among Australian women. A total of 853 women aged 22 to 27 provided information about the timing and sequencing of 6 life transitions: moving out of home, stopping full-time education, starting full-time work, having the first live-in relationship, marriage, and motherhood—and stress, smoking, and physical activity. Most had moved out of home, stopped full-time education, and started full-time work, but only 14% had undertaken all 6 transitions. Overall, 70% of participants had made transitions “in order.” Overall, the findings suggest that the relations between timing and sequencing of transitions, and indicators of health, are moderate for smoking, but small for stress and for physical activity. These effects remained after controlling for socioeconomic status of the participants’families of origin. Matching current social norms for the timing and sequencing of life changes may be of less importance for women’s well-being than is commonly believed. Although the significant relations between early or “out of order” transitions and smoking are of concern, the smaller relations with stress and with sedentariness suggest that such transitions may have limited negative consequences, and support the view that individuals are active in choosing the life path that is appropriate for them and their circumstances.

Keywords

Physical Activity Young Adulthood Australian Bureau Life Change Australian Woman 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Agresti, A. (1996). An introduction to categorical data analysis. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  2. Aiken, L. R. (1998). Human development in adulthood. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  3. Armstrong, T., Bauman, A., & Davies, J. (2000). Physical activity patterns of Australian adults: Results of the 1999 national physical activity survey. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.Google Scholar
  4. Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55, 469–480.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (1997). Australian Standard Classification of Occupations (ASCO): Catalogue No. 1220.0 (2nd ed.). Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service.Google Scholar
  6. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2002). Australian social trends 2002. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service.Google Scholar
  7. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2004). Age of women giving birth now older than ever. Retrieved April 21, 2005, from http://www.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/abs@ .nsf/e5cb0b45f4547cc4ca25697500217f47/fe3e4e3df8389321 ca256de1008030c0!OpenDocumentGoogle Scholar
  8. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2005). Demography, Australia, 2003. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (1997). National health data dictionary, Version 6.0: Standard questions on the use of tobacco among adults. Canberra: Author.Google Scholar
  9. Baltes, P. B. (1987). Theoretical propositions of life-span developmental psychology: On the dynamics between growth and decline. Developmental Psychology, 23, 611–626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Baranowski, T., Cullen, K. W., Basen-Engquist, K., Wetter, D. W., Cummings, S., Martineau, D. S., et al. (1997). Transitions out of high school: Time of increased cancer risk? Preventive Medicine, 26, 694–703.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bell, S., & Lee, C. (2002). Development of the perceived stress questionnaire for young women. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 7, 189–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bell, S., & Lee, C. (2003). Perceived stress revisited: The Women’s Health Australia project young cohort. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 8(3), 343–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bell, S., & Lee, C. (2005). Emerging adulthood and patterns of physical activity among young Australian women. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 12, 227–235.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bell, S., & Lee, C. (in press). Transitions in emerging adulthood and stress among young Australian women. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. Google Scholar
  15. Brown, W., & Bauman, A. (2000). Comparison of estimates of population levels of physical activity using two measures. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 24, 520–525.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Brown, W., Bryson, L., Byles, J., Dobson, A., Lee, C., Mishra, G., et al. (1998). Women’s Health Australia: Recruitment for a national longitudinal cohort study. Women and Health, 28, 23–40.Google Scholar
  17. Burke, V., Giangiulio, N., Gillam, H. F., Beilin, L. J., Houghton, S., & Milligan, R. A. K. (1999). Health promotion in couples adapting to a shared lifestyle. Health Education Research, 14, 269–290.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Caspersen, C. J., Pereira, M. A., & Curran, K. M. (2000). Changes in physical activity patterns in the United States, by sex and cross-sectional age. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 32, 1601–1609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Chassin, L., Presson, C. C., Rose, J. S., & Sherman, S. J. (1996). The natural history of cigarette smoking from adolescence to adult hood: Demographic predictors of continuity and change. Health Psychology, 15, 478–484.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dickson, R., Fullerton, D., Eastwood, A., Sheldon, T., & Sharp, F. (1997). Preventing and reducing the adverse effects of unintended teenage pregnancy. Effective Health Care Bulletin (Vol. 3, No. 1). York, England: Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, York University.Google Scholar
  21. Dornbusch, S. M. (2000). Transitions from adolescence: A discussion of seven articles. Journal of Adolescent Research, 15, 173–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Elder, G. H. J. (1974). Children of the great depression. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  23. Elder, G. H. J. (1994). Time, human agency, and social change: Perspectives on the life course. Social Psychological Quarterly, 57, 4–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Elder, G. H. J. (1998). The life course as developmental theory. Child Development, 69, 1–12.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Elder, G. H. J., George, L. K., & Shanahan, M. J. (1996). Psychosocial stress over the life course. In H. B. Kaplan (Ed.), Psychosocial stress: Perspectives on structure, theory, life-course, and methods (pp. 247-292). San Diego, CA: Academic.Google Scholar
  26. Gee, E. M. (1990). Preferred timing of women’s life events: A Canadian study. International Journal of Aging & Human Development, 31, 279–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. George, L. K. (1993). Sociological perspectives on life transitions. Annual Review of Sociology, 19, 353–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. George, L. K. (1996). Missing links: The case for a social psychology of the life course. The Gerontologist, 36, 248–255.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gwatkin, D. R. (2000). Health inequalities and the health of the poor: What do we know? What can we do? Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 78(1), 3–18.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Harley, C., & Mortimer, J. T. (2000). Markers of transition to adulthood, socioeconomic status of origin, and trajectories of health. Annals of New York Academy of Sciences, 896, 367–369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hetherington, E. M., & Baltes, P. B. (1988). Child psychology and life-span development. In E. M. Hetherington, R. M. Lerner, & M. Perlmutter (Eds.), Child development in life-span perspective (pp. 1–20). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.Google Scholar
  32. Hogan, D. P. (1981). Transitions and social change: The early lives of American men. New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  33. Huurre, T., Aro, H., & Rahkonen, O. (2003). Well-being and health behaviour by parental socioeconomic status: A follow-up study of adolescents aged 16 until 32 years. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 38, 249–255.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Jackson, P. B. (2004). Role sequencing: Does order matter for mental health? Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 45, 132–154.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lee, C., Dobson, A. J., Brown, W. J., Bryson, L., Byles, J., Warner-Smith, P., et al. (2005). Cohort profile: The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. International Journal of Epidemiology, 34, 1093–1098.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Lee, C., & Gramotnev, H. (in press). Predictors and outcomes of early motherhood in the Australian longitudinal study on women’s health. Psychology, Health & Medicine. Google Scholar
  37. Leslie, E., Fotheringham, M. J., Owen, N., & Bauman, A. (2001). Age-related differences in physical activity levels of young adults.Medicine & Science in Sports& Exercise, 33, 255–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Leslie, E., Owen, N., Salmon, J., Bauman, A., Sallis, J. F., & Kai Lo, S. (1999). Insufficiently active Australian college students: Perceived personal, social, and environmental influences. Preventive Medicine, 28, 20–27.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Levinson, D. J. (1978). The seasons of a man’s life. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  40. Marini, M. M. (1985). Determinants of the timing of adult role entry. Social Science Research, 14, 309–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Martinez, M. E., Reid, M., Jiang, R., Einspahr, J., & Alberts, D. S. (2004). Accuracy of self-reported smoking status among partic ipants in a chemoprevention trial. Preventive Medicine, 38, 492–497.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. McDermott, L., Dobson, A., & Russell, A. (2004). Changesinsmoking behaviour among young women over life stage transitions. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 28, 330–335.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Neugarten, B. L., Moore, J. W., & Lowe, J. C. (1965). Age norms, age constraints and adult socialization. American Journal of Sociology, 70, 710–717.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Neugarten, B. L., & Neugarten, D. A. (1986). Age in the aging society. Daedalus, 115, 31–49.Google Scholar
  45. Perry, C. L. (1999). Cardiovascular disease preventions among youth: Visioning the future. Preventive Medicine, 29, S79–83.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Prohaska, T. R., & Clark, M. A. (1997). Health behavior and the human life cycle. In D. S. Gochman (Ed.), Handbook of health behavior research, Vol. 3: Demography, development, and diversity (pp. 29–48). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  47. Ravanera, Z. R., Rajulton, F., & Burch, T. K. (1998). Early life transitions of Canadian women: A cohort analysis of timing, sequences, and variations. European Journal of Population, 14, 179–204.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rindfuss, R. R., Swicegood, C. G., & Rosenfeld, R. A. (1987). Disorder in the life course: How common and does it matter? American Sociological Review, 52, 785–801.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rook, K. S., Catalano, R., & Dooley, D. (1989). The timing of major life events: Effects of departing from the social clock. American Journal of Community Psychology, 17, 233–259.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Rossow, I., & Rise, J. (1993). Living arrangements and health behaviors in adolescence and young adulthood. Health Education Research, 8, 495–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Tudor-Locke, C., Williams, J. E., Reis, J. P., & Pluto, D. (2002). Utility of pedometers for assessing physical activity: convergent validity. Sports Medicine, 32, 795–808.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Williams, P. G., Holmbeck, G. N., & Greenley, R. N. (2002). Adolescent health psychology. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 70, 828–842.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Yamaguchi, K., & Kandel, D. B. (1985). On the resolution of role incompatibility: A life event history analysis of family roles and marijuana use. American Journal of Sociology, 90, 1284–1325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Centre for Gender & Health, University of NewcastleAustralia
  2. 2.School of Psychology, University of QueenslandAustralia

Personalised recommendations