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01-08-2007 | Original Paper | Uitgave 6/2007

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 6/2007

What Makes an Adult? Examining Descriptions from Adolescents of Divorce

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 6/2007
Auteurs:
DenYelle Baete Kenyon, Lela A. Rankin, Susan Silverberg Koerner, Renée Peltz Dennison
Belangrijke opmerkingen
Doctoral Student at the University of Arizona. She received her MS in Family Studies and Human Development from the University of Arizona. Her major research interests include parent–adolescent relationships, adolescent development, and the transition to adulthood.
Doctoral Student at the University of Arizona. She received her MS in Family Studies and Human Development from the University of Arizona. Her major research interests include adolescent social development; adolescent romantic relationships and risk-taking behaviors; psychological approaches to the transition to adulthood; and developmental methods and statistics
Associate Professor at the University of Arizona. She received her Ph.D. in Child and Family Studies from University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her major research interests include post-divorce parent–adolescent relationship, adolescent development and adjustment, and psychological/physical well-being of adults caring for elderly family members
Doctoral Student at the University of Arizona. She received her MS in Family Studies and Human Development from the University of Arizona. Her major research interests include parental divorce and its impact on adolescents’ future relationships, adolescent development, and mixed methodology

Abstract

The present study examined conceptions of “what makes an adult” within a sample of adolescents (13–19 years) from divorced families. Arnett’s (2003) seven criteria-of-adulthood categories (independence, interdependence, role transitions, norm compliance, biological transitions, chronological transitions, and family capacities) were used as an initial framework for grouping open-ended written responses, while inductive content analysis was employed to analyze all other responses. Although the majority of responses (N=568) fit into Arnett’s categories, 35.2% of responses were coded into eleven newly created categories (e.g., knowledge/wisdom, role model/leader). The present study confirmed that independence qualities are believed to be most important. However, role transitions (e.g., marriage) were considered more significant than in previous research. The qualitative findings and their specific pattern should inform existing quantitative measures of adulthood criteria.

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