|Date||10/12/10 to 10/13/10|
|Location||Nittany Lion Inn, University Park campus|
Co-organized in 2010 with the National Center for Family and Marriage Research (NCFMR) at Bowling Green State University.
Early adulthood (ages 18-24) is a period characterized by social-emotional, cognitive and physical development, evidenced in increasing autonomy from parents, financial independence, romantic relationship involvement, and transitions into parenthood. It is a critical life period because the timing and sequencing of these developments set the stage for later health and well-being as well as for future psychological development, achievement, and family and intimate relationship experiences. Young adults do not navigate emerging adulthood alone, and often require substantial support from their families of origin to successfully accomplish the many developmental tasks of this period. In addition, although family formation is increasingly delayed, some men and women marry or become parents early, and others form romantic relationships. The 2010 symposium will focus on the family contexts of early adulthood, emphasizing the importance of both the family of origin and new and highly variable types of family formation experiences that occur in early adulthood.
Not all young adults share the same pathways through young adulthood. There is diversity in the trajectories of young adults, reflecting not only variation due to structural factors such as socioeconomic status, gender, and race/ethnicity, but also individual differences in social, cognitive and emotional development and adjustment which are shaped in part by early and ongoing family dynamics. Families of origin are increasingly complex due to non-marital childbearing, divorce, cohabitation and remarriage as well as the health and well-being of their members. Young adults' ability to draw on family resources varies according to the characteristics of their family of origin. Individual and group differences in the family supports available to young adults may be especially pronounced in the current time period, given the growth of income inequality over the last several decades and the severity of the current recession.
The 2010 symposium has two core goals that will showcase new theoretical, methodological, and measurement insights. The first goal is to advance understanding of the influence of the family of origin on young adults' lives--recognizing the increasing diversity and complexity of the family. Both family resources and constraints with respect to economic, social, and human capital will be considered, as will the nature and extent of young adults' responsibilities to their families of origin. The second goal is to build our knowledge about family formation and stability in early adulthood. Given delays in the timing of marriage for most young adults, the early adult years provide opportunities for a wide range of relationships. Empirical studies and theoretical developments, however, have not kept pace with the relationship and family experiences of young adults. Along with its emphasis on the family contexts of early adulthood, the symposium will highlight two additional important themes: diversity in young adult development and the role of the broader economic climate. Research will draw on comparisons within young adulthood as well as contrasting young adults to teens and older adults.
What is the contemporary context of young adulthood?
Lead speaker: Richard Settersten, Professor, College of Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University
What are the key elements of parent-child relationships that facilitate successful transitions during young adulthood?
Lead speaker: Karen Fingerman, Berner-Hanley Professor in Gerontology, Department of Child Development & Family Studies, Purdue University
What are the types and trajectories of romantic and sexual relationships in young adulthood?
Lead speaker: Peggy C. Giordano, Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology, Bowling Green State University
What are the timing and family contexts of fertility in young adulthood?
Lead speaker: Kathy Edin, Professor of Public Policy and Management, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government
How has the study of emerging adulthood advanced since 2000 and where does it need to go?
Lead speaker: Jeffrey Arnett, Research Professor, Department of Psychology, Clark University, Worcester
Booth, A., Brown, S. L., Landale, N., Manning, W. D., & McHale, S. (Eds.). (2011). Early adulthood in a family context. New York: Springer.
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