Vulnerability in the Transition to Adulthood: Defining Risk Based on Youth Profiles
In spite of an extended transition to adulthood for many segments of the population, many youth still struggle considerably with transition outcomes. With data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (N=8984), this study uses latent class analysis to identify patterns of youth development in emerging adulthood based on education level and social outcomes. These classes are used to identify risk and protective factors for class membership. The authors identified four profiles of youth with two groups showing positive outcomes and two groups struggling considerably. Bivariate and cumulative logit analysis shows that demographic characteristics, childhood home environment, and psychosocial resources predict class membership. Involvement in youth-serving government systems is associated with poorer outcomes and remains salient when considered with other risk factors. The authors suggest that emergence of this new developmental stage requires a reexamination of vulnerability and how we understand risk and resiliency during this period. Modified Author Abstract.