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The Contemporary Context of Young Adulthood in the USA: From Demography to Development, From Private Troubles to Public Issues

  • Richard A. SetterstenJr.Email author
Chapter
Part of the National Symposium on Family Issues book series (NSFI, volume 2)

Abstract

This chapter describes how the passage to adulthood in the USA has changed, and what this means for individuals, families, and societies. It highlights some radical shifts in “traditional” markers of adulthood, and some problematic ways that scholars and the public think about the early adult years. It describes a few larger hallmarks of these years today, and some of the social skills and psychological capacities that young people need for traversing them, especially to foster supportive social relationships and the ability to navigate social institutions. The chapter illustrates the sizeable role of family support in determining the success of young people, as well as the significant need to strengthen existing social institutions and policies, and create new ones, to better support young adults. It is crucial that the launching of children into adulthood not be so exclusively understood as a “private trouble” to be managed with personal resources and strategies, but instead be understood as a “public issue” that requires considerable collective investments for the sake of everyone.

Keywords

Young People Early Adulthood Social Institution Life Period Psychological Capacity 
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.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family SciencesOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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