Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

The Changing Transition to Adulthood: Leaving and Returning Home

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

The Changing Transition to Adulthood: Leaving and Returning Home

Article excerpt

The Changing Transition to Adulthood: Leaving and Returning Home. Francis Goldscheider & Calvin Goldscheider. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 1999. 257 pp. ISBN 0-7619-0992-3. $64.95 cloth, $27.95 paper.

As the unquestionable experts on adult children's transitions in and out of the parental home, Frances and Calvin Goldscheider provide a clear, well-written, and interesting treatment of the historical changes in nest transitions between the 1920s and the 1990s. Whereas much of the material in The Changing Transition to Adulthood: Leaving and Returning Home has been published previously in other outlets (fully acknowledged and referenced by the authors), it is convenient to have all of the findings located in a single volume with an accompanying strong and unified theoretical component. This book shares a substantive focus with its predecessor, Leaving Home Before Marriage: Ethnicity, Familism, and Generational Relationships, although the former used the High School and Beyond survey and could not address change over time.

The overarching theme of the book is that patterns of leaving from and returning to the parental home occur within specific sociohistorical contexts, are part of a negotiating process between parents and adult children, proceed simultaneously with other life course transitions, and are contingent on a variety of social and personal variables. Each chapter is somewhat isolated from the other chapters, because the authors organize each chapter around a specific topic. The first few chapters are dedicated to the historical trends of leaving and returning home, including the changes in age at which the transitions have occurred. The middle six chapters examine the effects of various factors on returning and leaving home: regions of the country, childhood family structure, sex differences, social class, race and ethnicity, and religious and family values. The final chapter provides an overview of the research and comments extensively on cohort differences in nest transitions. An emphasis is placed on post-World War II patterns, especially late-20th-century trends. …

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