Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 88–99 | Cite as

Associations Between Positive Development in Late Adolescence and Social, Health, and Behavioral Outcomes in Young Adulthood

  • Mary T. Hawkins
  • Kristi-Ann Villagonzalo
  • Ann V. Sanson
  • John W. Toumbourou
  • Primrose Letcher
  • Craig A. Olsson


Little is known about positive development across the transition from adolescence to young adulthood. The purpose of this paper was to use longitudinal data from a large community sample, the Australian Temperament Project, to investigate prospective associations between positive development at age 19–20 years and changes in social, health, and behavioral outcomes at 23–24 years. Data from 890 young adults (61.7% women) were analyzed using path analysis. Emotional health, physical well-being, friendship quality, reduced antisocial behavior, and positive development in young adulthood were predicted by higher levels of positive development in late adolescence, after controlling for baseline levels of respective outcomes, gender, and family socioeconomic status. Parent relationship quality and alcohol use were not significantly predicted. Based on these findings, interventions promoting positive development during adolescence should be investigated as a potential means of yielding positive social, health, and behavioral consequences well into young adulthood.


Positive development Psychosocial outcomes Health outcomes Late adolescence Young adulthood 



The ATP study is managed by the Australian Institute of Family Studies and is a collaboration between the University of Melbourne, Royal Children’s Hospital, and the Australian Institute of Family Studies; further information available at Funding for this analysis was provided by a project grant from the Australian Research Council (Principal Investigators Ann Sanson, Craig Olsson, and Diana Smart). We acknowledge all collaborators who have contributed to the Australian Temperament Project, especially Diana Smart and Margot Prior and Frank Oberklaid. We would also like to thank all families involved in the ATP for their time and invaluable contribution to the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary T. Hawkins
    • 1
  • Kristi-Ann Villagonzalo
    • 1
  • Ann V. Sanson
    • 1
  • John W. Toumbourou
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Primrose Letcher
    • 1
  • Craig A. Olsson
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Paediatrics, Royal Children’s HospitalUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.School of Psychology, Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing ResearchDeakin UniversityGeelongAustralia
  3. 3.Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal Children’s HospitalUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Psychological SciencesUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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