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June 2015Vol. 16, No. 5Risks for Youth Transitioning to Adulthood

Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, Child Trends investigated the risk patterns for youth as they transition to adulthood. The study focused on youths' and young adults' issues with heavy alcohol use, criminal behavior, and financial hardship and analyzed findings based on a variety of factors, including gender, race/ethnicity, and whether the individuals were native or foreign born. The study followed the youth as they moved from their late teens or early twenties (Wave III of the study) to their late twenties and early thirties (Wave IV). The following key findings were reported in the research brief for this study:

  • Young adults who had minimal problems in Wave III tended to continue to maintain a low risk level in Wave IV.
  • Young adults who had moderate or multiple problems in Wave III tended to have fewer problems in Wave IV.
  • Female young adults had fewer problems than males during both periods.
  • Foreign-born young adults had fewer problems than native-born young adults.
  • Compared to young adults who are Black, Latino, or of other races or ethnicities, White young adults are the least likely to have minimal problems and most likely to have multiple problems.

The research brief Transitioning to Adulthood: How Do Young Adults Fare and What Characteristics Are Associated With a Lower-Risk Transition, by M. Terzian, K. Moore, and N. Constance, is available on the Child Trends website at (506 KB).