Advertisement

Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 119–132 | Cite as

Long-Term Psychological Health Among Individuals Pursuing Emerging Adulthood-Type Pathways in the 1950s and 1960s

  • Alan Reifman
  • Timothy Oblad
  • Sylvia Niehuis
Article
  • 236 Downloads

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Emerging adulthood 1950s Health Wisconsin Longitudinal Study 

References

  1. Allport, G. W. (1962). The general and the unique in psychological science. Journal of Personality, 30, 405–422.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Alsop, R. (2008). The trophy kids grow up: How the Millennial Generation is shaking up the workplace. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  3. 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
  4. Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55, 469–480. doi: 10.1037//0003-066X.55.5.469.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Arnett, J. J. (2004). Emerging adulthood: The winding road from the late teens through the twenties. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Arnett, J. J., Žukauskienė, R., & Sugimura, K. (2014). The new life stage of emerging adulthood at ages 18–29 years: Implications for mental health. The Lancet Psychiatry, 1, 569–576. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(14)00080-7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Bicchieri, C. (2006). The grammar of society: The nature and dynamics of social norms. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  8. 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.
  9. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd edn.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  10. 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.
  11. 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/.
  12. Damon, W. (2008). The path to purpose: How young people find their calling in life. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  13. Elder, G. H. Jr. (1974). Children of the great depression: Social change in life experience. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  14. 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
  15. Grice, J. W., & Iwasaki, M. (2007). A truly multivariate approach to MANOVA. Applied Multivariate Research, 12, 199–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Helson, R. (1972). The changing image of the career woman. Journal of Social Issues, 25, 33–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Helson, R., & Picano, J. (1990). Is the traditional role bad for women? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 311–320. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.59.2.311.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Judis, J. B., & Teixeira, R. (2002). The emerging Democratic majority. New York: Lisa Drew/Scribner.Google Scholar
  21. 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.
  22. Kloep, M., & Hendry, L. B. (2011). Rejoinder to Chaps. 2 and 3: Critical comments on Arnett’s and Tanner’s approach. In J. J. Arnett, M. Kloep, L. B. Hendry & J. L. Tanner (Eds.), Debating emerging adulthood: Stage or process? (pp. 107–120). New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 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
  24. Krahn, H. J., Howard, A. L., & Galambos, N. L. (2015). Exploring or floundering? The meaning of employment and educational fluctuations in emerging adulthood. Youth and Society, 47, 245–266. doi: 10.1177/0044118X12459061.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 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.
  26. Manly, B. F. J. (2005). Multivariate statistical methods: A primer. Boca Raton, FL: Chapman & Hall/CRC.Google Scholar
  27. 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.
  28. McDonald, T. J. (Ed.). (1996). The historic turn in the human sciences. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  29. 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.
  30. Moen, P. (2016). Work over the gendered life course. In M. J. Shanahan, J. T. Mortimer & M. K. Johnson (Eds.), Handbook of the life course (Vol. 2, pp. 249–275). Cham: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-20880-0.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 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
  32. 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.
  33. Payton, M. E., Greenstone, M. H., & Schenker, N. (2003). Overlapping confidence intervals or standard error intervals: What do they mean in terms of statistical significance? Journal of Insect Science. doi: 10.1093/jis/3.1.34.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  34. 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.
  35. Pelham, B. W. (1993). The idiographic nature of human personality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 665–677. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.64.4.665.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1, 385–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 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
  38. 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.
  39. Reilly, C., Wang, C., & Rutherford, M. (2005). A rapid method for the comparison of cluster analyses. Statistica Sinica, 15, 19–33.Google Scholar
  40. Ryff, C. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 1069–1081. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.57.6.1069.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ryff, C., & Keyes, C. L. M. (1995). The structure of psychological well-being revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 719–727. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.69.4.719.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. 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
  43. Segal, D. R., & Segal, M. W. (2004). America’s military population. Population Bulletin, 59. Retrieved from: http://www.prb.org/source/acf1396.pdf.
  44. Settersten, R. A. Jr. (1998). A time to leave home and a time never to return? Age constraints on the living arrangements of young adults. Social Forces, 76, 1373–1400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Settersten, R. A. Jr. (2003). Age structuring and the rhythm of the life course. In J. T. Mortimer & M. J. Shanahan (Eds.), Handbook of the Life Course (pp. 81–98). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 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
  47. Springer, K. W., & Hauser, R. M. (2006). An assessment of the construct validity of Ryff’s scales of psychological well-being: Method, mode, and measurement effects. Social Science Research, 35, 1080–1102. doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2005.07.004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Stewart, A. J., & Healy, J. M. (1989). Linking individual development and social changes. American Psychologist, 44, 30–42. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.44.1.30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Thornton, A., & Young-DeMarco, L. (2001). Four decades of trends in attitudes toward family issues in the United States: The 1960s through the 1990s. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 63, 1009–1037. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2001.01009.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 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
  51. 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.
  52. Veroff, J., Douvan, E., & Kulka, R. A. (1981). The inner American: A self-portrait from 1957 to 1976. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  53. Viera, A. J., & Garrett, J. M. (2005). Understanding interobserver agreement: The kappa statistic. Family Medicine, 37, 360–363.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. 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.
  55. Wink, P., & Staudinger, U. M. (2016). Wisdom and psychosocial functioning in later life. Journal of Personality, 84, 306–318. doi: 10.1111/jopy.12160.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Winsborough, H. H. (1978). Statistical histories of the life cycle of birth cohorts: The transition from schoolboy to adult male. In K. E. Taeuber, L. L. Bumpass & J. A. Sweet (Eds.), Social demography (pp. 231–259). New York: Academic Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 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/.
  58. 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.
  59. 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

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family Studies, College of Human SciencesTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA
  2. 2.Texas A&M University-KingsvilleKingsvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations