The Implications of Family Context for the Transition to Adulthood

  • Monica Kirkpatrick JohnsonEmail author
  • Janel Benson
Part of the National Symposium on Family Issues book series (NSFI, volume 2)


In the prolonged transition to adulthood, young adults are increasingly dependent on their families for material and emotional support, but what effect does this support have on later success? This chapter extends research by Fingerman and colleagues to investigate the long-term implications of family context on young adults’ success. Specifically, we draw upon data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to examine how adolescent family structure and parent–child relationships in both adolescence and early adulthood shape later subjective achievement. Youth growing up in two-biological parent families have the highest levels of subjective attainment, which is largely because youth in these families have greater access to financial resources in adolescence and as they follow different transition pathways into adulthood. Greater family resources allow families to provide financial support throughout the transition to adulthood. Parent–offspring closeness during adolescence and early adulthood is advantageous for subjective achievement while high levels of monitoring during adolescence is negatively associated with later success. Consistent with Fingerman and her colleagues, we find that young adult pathways condition the effects of parental support and closeness on achievement.


Early Adulthood Child Relationship Parental Monitoring Family Context Parental Resource 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyColgate UniversityHamiltonUSA

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