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Critics of emerging adulthood theory have suggested that it only applies to college students, but this assertion has largely gone untested. The purpose of the present study was to compare developmental trajectories of non-students versus college-educated youth in theoretically relevant domains of work, love, and financial independence. Using data from the Youth Development Study (N = 1139, 49.6 % female, 63.3 % White, 10.9 % Southeast Asian, 1.5 % Other Asian, 8.6 % Black, 5.3 % Mixed Race, 4.0 % Latino, 0.8 % Native American), latent growth curve models were fitted to chart each group’s development, from ages 14 to 30. Different trajectories were revealed for hours worked, children, and financial dependence on parents, spouses, and government aid. No differences were found in employment rates, marriage rates, or financial dependence on own income. These results provide a clearer picture of emerging adulthood for non-students, and highlight problems with generalizing college student research to all emerging adults.
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- Does College Matter for Emerging Adulthood? Comparing Developmental Trajectories of Educational Groups
Lauren L. Mitchell
- Springer US