Transitioning to Adulthood: How Do Young Adults Fare and What Characteristics are Associated with a Lower-Risk Transition

Research BriefYouth & Young AdultsMay 1 2014

This brief seeks to identify patterns and transitions during emerging adulthood to obtain a better understanding of the likelihood that young adults will experience a lower-risk transition to adulthood. We analyzed panel data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health, N=12,166), using person-centered analyses, to examine the odds of youth engaging in lower-risk patterns/trajectories, specifically, minimal problems with heavy alcohol use, illicit drug use, criminal behavior, and financial hardship. Lower-risk transitions were defined as avoiding or overcoming problems by adulthood. We found considerable variation among young adults in reaching these milestones.