Long-Term Psychological Health Among Individuals Pursuing Emerging Adulthood-Type Pathways in the 1950s and 1960s
- 236 Downloads
We analyzed data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (N = 6390) to investigate how common an emerging adulthood-type lifestyle (e.g., delayed marriage and childbearing, pursuit of higher education) was in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and what the long-term psychological-health correlates were of such a lifestyle. Cluster analyses of marital, childbearing, educational, and occupational variables from 1957 (high school graduation) to 1964 generated six clusters that we labeled: fast-starters (early marriage and childbearing, little education beyond high school, virtually all employed), very-educated/partnered (mean educational attainment well into graduate school and among the earliest to get married), moderately educated/family-oriented (mean years of education somewhat shy of a bachelor’s degree, early marriage and childbearing), educated singles (late marriage and childbearing, if at all, averaging a bachelor’s degree; most prototypical of emerging adulthood), work/military-first (little education past high school, late marriage and childbearing), and military/professional-aspiration (envisioning career requiring college education and pursuing one). The clusters were then compared on health and well-being measures from 1992 to 1993 and 2003 to 2005, controlling for family-of-origin socioeconomic status. In general, individuals whose life pursuits combined higher education, professional career aspirations, and marriage exhibited the best long-term psychological health. Results are discussed in terms of historical conditions when these individuals transitioned to adulthood.
KeywordsEmerging adulthood 1950s Health Wisconsin Longitudinal Study
- Alsop, R. (2008). The trophy kids grow up: How the Millennial Generation is shaking up the workplace. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
- Alwin, D. F., Cohen, R. L., & Newcomb, T. M. (1991). Political attitudes over the life span: The Bennington women after fifty years. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
- Arnett, J. J. (2004). Emerging adulthood: The winding road from the late teens through the twenties. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Bicchieri, C. (2006). The grammar of society: The nature and dynamics of social norms. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Clever, M., & Segal, D. R. (2013). The demographics of military children and families. Future of Children, 23, 13–39. Retrieved from: https://www.princeton.edu/futureofchildren/publications/docs/Chapter%201.pdf.
- Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd edn.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Congressional Budget Office. (2007). The All-Volunteer Military: Issues and performance. Retrieved from: https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/110th-congress-2007-2008/reports/07-19-militaryvol_0.pdf.
- Coontz, S. (2011). Aren’t you glad you weren’t single fifty years ago? Match.com Blog. Retrieved from: http://blog.match.com/2011/02/04/aren%E2%80%99t-you-glad-you-weren%E2%80%99t-single-fifty-years-ago/.
- Damon, W. (2008). The path to purpose: How young people find their calling in life. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
- Elder, G. H. Jr. (1974). Children of the great depression: Social change in life experience. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Florida, R. (2002). The rise of the creative class: And how it’s transforming work, leisure, community and everyday life. New York: Perseus Book Group.Google Scholar
- Herd, P. (2010). The Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. Presentation to the Financial Literacy Research Consortium. Washington, DC. Retrieved from: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/www/external/events/2010/11/18/wisconsin-longitudinal-study.pdf.
- IBM. (2016). K-Means Cluster (QUICK CLUSTER) results sensitive to case order [Technical Note]. Retrieved from: http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg21476878.
- Judis, J. B., & Teixeira, R. (2002). The emerging Democratic majority. New York: Lisa Drew/Scribner.Google Scholar
- Kirsch, I., Braun, H., Lennon, M. L., & Sands, A. (2016). Choosing our future: A story of opportunity in America. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service. Retrieved from: http://opportunityproject.ets.org/assets/content/choosing-our-future.pdf.
- Kojima, H. (2003). Historical contexts for development. In J. Valsiner & K. J. Connolly (Eds.), Handbook of developmental psychology (pp. 72–87). London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Leonard, K. (2016). Moms are older than they used to be. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved from: http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/data-mine/2016/01/14/cdc-the-median-age-of-first-time-motherhood-is-increasing.
- Manly, B. F. J. (2005). Multivariate statistical methods: A primer. Boca Raton, FL: Chapman & Hall/CRC.Google Scholar
- Mathews, T. J., & Hamilton, B. E. (2009). Delayed childbearing: More women are having their first child later in life. NCHS Data Brief (No. 21). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db21.pdf.
- McDonald, T. J. (Ed.). (1996). The historic turn in the human sciences. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
- Miller, M. (2002). Living history: Retracing the evolution of the PC and PC Magazine. PC Magazine. Retrieved from: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,1175818,00.asp.
- Osgood, D. W., Ruth, G., Eccles, J. S., Jacobs, J. E., & Barber, B. L. (2005). Six paths to adulthood. In R. A. Settersten Jr., F. F. Furstenberg, Jr., & R. G. Rumbaut (Eds.), On the frontier of adulthood: Theory, research, and public policy (pp. 320–355). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Payne, K. K. (2011). Forming families (FP-11-08). National Center for Family & Marriage Research. Retrieved from: http://ncfmr.bgsu.edu/pdf/family_profiles/file101794.pdf.
- Pearce, N. C., Parks, R. A., & Wisconsin Longitudinal Study staff. (2011). User’s guide, Wisconsin Longitudinal Study instrumentation: 1957 to 2010. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin. Retrieved from: http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/wlsresearch/documentation/flowcharts/Full_Instrumentation_1957_2010_vers6_Final.pdf.
- Regnerus, M., & Uecker, J. (2011). Premarital sex in America: How young Americans meet, mate, and think about marrying. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Reifman, A., Arnett, J.J., & Colwell, M.J. (2007). Emerging adulthood: Theory, assessment, and application. Journal of Youth Development, 2(1). Available online at: http://www.nae4ha.com/archives.
- Reilly, C., Wang, C., & Rutherford, M. (2005). A rapid method for the comparison of cluster analyses. Statistica Sinica, 15, 19–33.Google Scholar
- Sandefur, G. D., Eggerling-Boeck, J., & Park, H. (2005). Off to a good start? Postsecondary education and early adult life. In R. A. Settersten, Jr., F. F. Furstenberg, Jr., R. G. Rumbaut (Eds.), On the frontier of adulthood: Theory, research, and public policy (pp. 292–319). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Segal, D. R., & Segal, M. W. (2004). America’s military population. Population Bulletin, 59. Retrieved from: http://www.prb.org/source/acf1396.pdf.
- Settersten, R. A. Jr., & Ray, B. E. (2010). Not quite adults: Why 20-somethings are choosing a slower path to adulthood, and why it’s good for everyone. New York: Bantam.Google Scholar
- Twenge, J. M. (2015). The age in which we live and its impact on the person. In K. J. Reynolds & N. R. Branscombe (Eds.), Psychology of change: Life contexts, experiences, and identities (pp. 44–58). New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
- U.S. Census Bureau. (2015). Median age at first marriage: 1890 to present. Retrieved from: https://www.census.gov/hhes/families/files/graphics/MS-2.pdf.
- Veroff, J., Douvan, E., & Kulka, R. A. (1981). The inner American: A self-portrait from 1957 to 1976. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Wahlberg, D. (2007). Class of '57 through a procession of surveys: Wisconsin 1957 high school grads have provided a broad and deep sociological snapshot of a generation's views on education, sex and other topics. Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved from: http://host.madison.com/news/class-of-through-aprocession-of-surveys-wisconsin-high-school/article_68274382-acde-5eb5-a082-c0ac0d04c006.html.
- Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. (1957–2005). Graduates, siblings, and spouses (version 13.01, machine-readable data file, R. M. Hauser & W. H. Sewell, principal investigators). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved from: http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/wlsresearch/documentation/.
- Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. (1999). A note on factor weighted SES scores. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Center for Demography of Health and Aging. Retrieved from: http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/wlsresearch/documentation/appendices/L/cor689.asc.
- Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. (2008). Documentation of scales in Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Center for Demography of Health and Aging. Retrieved from: http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/wlsresearch/documentation/scales/WlsScalesDoc_Nov2010.pdf