The Role of Family Context in Early Adulthood: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

  • Jessica Halliday HardieEmail author
  • Christine E. Stanik
Part of the National Symposium on Family Issues book series (NSFI, volume 2)


Public and scholarly interest in early adulthood has increased over the past decade, spurred by the dramatic social and developmental changes young people experience during this period and the consequences of their missteps. The family context – both the family of origin and family of procreation – has emerged as key settings shaping young adults’ success in navigating this period of the life course. While prior research has illuminated relationships between various family contexts and young adult outcomes, the chapters in this volume move the field forward in considering the dynamic interplay between family context, early adult development, and a range of outcomes. In this chapter, we synthesize four emergent themes from this volume: the role of family in pathways to adulthood, cumulative advantage and disadvantage in early adulthood, individual differences in young people’s skills and capacities for negotiating early adulthood, and the role of institutions in shaping early adulthood. We conclude by delineating the remaining gaps in the literature and by offering suggestions for how the field should move forward.


Young Adult Young People Romantic Relationship Early Adulthood Child Relationship 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica Halliday Hardie
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christine E. Stanik
    • 2
  1. 1.Population Research InstituteThe Pennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesThe Pennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA

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