The Effects of Adolescent Mental Health on the Transition to Adulthood: Leaving the Family Home and Household Formation

Jerald Herting, University of Washington
Karen A. Snedker, University of Washington

Recent psychological literature argues for a distinctive developmental stage of emerging adulthood. Demographers have a long standing interest in this period and have studied outcomes (e.g. unions, first births) during this transition from adolescence and have related transitions to demographic characteristics of the individual such as ethnicity and to parental characteristics including household structure (e.g. single parent household) or to parent’s experience with these transitions (e.g. teen motherhood). This paper uses a longitudinal survey to examine the leaving of the family home and initial household formation and the specific role of adolescent mental health as an additional factor in this process. In developed countries the increase in specific incidence of mental health problems and other risk behaviors during late adolescence (e.g. depression, suicide risk or drug use) and the divergence of these behaviors by gender suggest mental health status may play an interesting role as health morbidity in these transitions.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Union Formation and Dissolution, Fertility, Family and Well-being